May we consider for a few moments that we are humans, “Homo Sapiens,” the highest level in this world of the living. We, along with all the other animals, occupy this environment called Earth. This happens to be the only planet in our Solar System that is livable and occupied by life, as we know it. We share our lives with all the other animals, breathe the same air and benefit from the life giving warmth of the sun.
We humans along with the other animals share the same 5 physical senses, hearing, seeing, smelling, taste and touch. Some of these, the smell and hearing, are much more sensitive and keener in the animal world than our senses are. We notice the similarity we share with the animal world, the communication and touch, The dedication of the family pet to their owners is remarkable. How soon they respond with love and play even after some discipline from their owners. Yet between man and the domesticated animal there is a major difference.
In the Biblical account of Creation in Genesis 1:26, God said, “Let us make man in Our Image, after our likeness.” Genesis 2:7 states, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul” (ASV). Man has this living soul that will return to the God who gave it when our earthly life ends.
In Job 33:4, Job said, “The Spirit of God has made me and the breath of the Almighty giveth me life.” Ecclesiastes 12:7 says, “The Spirit returns unto God who gave it.”
There is another significant difference between man and the rest of the animal world. Man has the ability to understand, to reason and satisfy the need of one of his friends or brethren. He has the choice to respond or not as in James 2:16, “Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled”: or give them the things needful to the body. He has the ability to think and respond using the Scriptures or some other guide concerning the situation, to either satisfy the need or ignore it.
In 1 John 3:17, a very similar verse, we read, “Who so hath the worlds goods and sees his brother in need and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abideth in him?” The point being the man or brother that hath the goods has the ability to make the choice, whether or not to satisfy the need or through lack of concern or whatever, to say “be ye warmed and filled” and not supply the cold and hungry with what they need.
Here in lies another difference in man and the animals in our environment. Our Creator has given us the reasoning and thinking capacity to act but not by instinct as the animals do.
May we be blessed with the desire and wisdom to recognize the opportunity to do good and satisfy the needs of our brethren and mankind.
Let’s face it, when we hear a lot about good deeds we know where it is going to hit us the hardest—the wallet. Obviously, not every good deed is a monetary good deed. But sooner or later, we can’t help but notice that in Scripture many of the good deeds affect us financially. Whether we are talking about hospitality, sending aid to Christians who are going through a famine, being a good Samaritan, feeding and clothing our brothers and sisters or helping the poor, eventually our good deeds are going to cost us money.
That’s what makes these good deeds so scary, especially when the news tells us the economic sky is falling. This is where II Corinthians 9:8 comes in. Paul wrote, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
Now this is not a promise from God to drop any amount of money or material goods in your lap that you claim you’ll give to others. However, it does point out that when we are a blessing to others, God will bring blessings to us. That is exactly why God blesses people. Not so they can hoard the blessings, but so they can share them. We are not alone in this work of good deeds. God is extending His grace so we can be sufficient for performing these good deeds.
If I clinch my fist around whatever blessings I have received, my hand will be closed to the blessings God may want to give me. However, when I open my hand to others, it becomes open to receive more of God’s blessings.
This is not the health and wealth gospel that makes good deeds a selfish investment, hoping I can give $10 to some preacher and receive $100 back for my trouble. That motivation isn’t about being zealous for good deeds at all. Rather, this is an extension of God’s promise in Matthew 6:33. If we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, He’ll take care of us.
If we have contentment with our blessings such that we can share them with others, God will continue to bless us. If we are so discontent that we cannot share, God will stop blessing us. It is that simple. Of course, if I have contentment and I don’t receive a greater blessing, I’m still okay with that. I simply use what God has given me knowing that “it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have” (II Corinthians 8:12, ESV).
Be content. Be a blessing. Then and only then will God truly bestow His richest material blessings upon us.