When was the last time someone accused Christians of being a do-gooder? A hypocrite yes. Out of date, heard that one. But too often I don’t hear the term do-gooder or something similar used to describe or even criticise Christians or the church. And that is a tragedy.
Given how often we are called to do good by Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and a host of Old Testament prophets, that is an absolute tragedy. James words at the end of the first chapter of his letter; “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” are particularly striking. Peter writes continually of how we ought to be living lives that are so good, not in terms of nose upturned pharisaical judgemental righteousness, in terms of our good deeds that even when people slander us they see our good deeds and come to praise God.
Good deeds should be synonymous with God’s people. The church without good works ought to be like a car without wheels. I’ve been struck as we work through 1 Peter that we must be a people who confront the world’s hostility and malicious accusations with yet more good deeds. Then as we discussed the role of deacons at a recent training meeting it was fascinating to observe their role on the early church was to ensure the church was effective in its visible outworking of the gospel in feeding the widows, in other words doing good.
And there is lots of good we do, youth groups, toddlers and a whole variety of other things. But I wonder if we ought to be more known for being ‘do-gooders.’