Let’s do some good!

By Barrett Duke
Dec 6, 2012

Recently, my church collected clothes from our members and invited the needy in our community to come pick up what they needed free of charge. The response was overwhelming. Within a couple of hours most of the clothes had found new owners. Those who came were deeply moved by our church’s commitment to help meet their needs. Such acts of kindness and charity are the kinds of expressions of love and compassion that can help communities develop deep, enduring bonds.

Listen to the audio of this commentary here.

As we enter the Christmas season, we who name Christ as our Savior should look for opportunities to reach out to those less fortunate than we. Acts of kindness done simply for the sake of doing something good for someone are some of the truest expressions of genuine love.

Some people wonder if Christians should be involved in human needs activities and ministries. They worry that the church could be sidetracked from its primary purpose of evangelism. The key to maintaining a proper balance between evangelism and ministry to the needy is keeping the Bible central in our lives. The Bible makes clear that helping those in need is a central tenet of the faithful Christian life, but it also makes clear that the most important Christian ministry is sharing the message of salvation.

Jesus shows us that it is a both/and proposition, not either/or. You can’t read the gospels without becoming aware of this. Throughout the gospels Jesus heals, feeds, comforts, and encourages in addition to challenging and preaching.

To those who say that Jesus was just doing these things to demonstrate that the Kingdom of God had come, I say, “OK.” Jesus was demonstrating that the Kingdom of God is characterized by such things as compassion, mercy, and love. Sure He denounced sin and preached repentance, and we should as well. But He also engaged in acts of kindness. In his short but Spirit-anointed message in Acts chapter 10, Peter said that among Jesus’ other activities He “went about doing good.” It’s not only alright to engage in loving acts of kindness and compassion, it’s Christ-like.

So, what could you do for someone in need this Christmas season? Let me encourage you to do more than give some money to a needy cause. Give to trustworthy ministries that specialize in helping those in need. But also do something yourself for someone in need in your area. My wife and I often adopt a family for Christmas and buy something for each family member off of their wish list. You might have something else in mind. Your pastor probably knows of some great ways you could do something good for someone in need.

What you do isn’t nearly as important as that you do something. For a person in need, and there are millions all around us today, any act of kindness is an encouragement. Choose to be the hands of God reaching out to someone in need this Christmas. And if someone asks you why you are doing this, tell them you are doing it because God loves them and you do, too. May we who proclaim Christ be known for our love as well as our truth.

Listen to the audio of this commentary here.

Dr. Barrett Duke is Vice President for Public Policy and Research for the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and also serves as Director of the Commission’s Research Institute of the ERLC. Read more of his work here. He is also a regular contributor to the For Faith and Family radio broadcast.

Further Learning

Learn more about: Faith, Citizenship, Community Service, Human Rights, ,

You May Also Like

Men, you must prevent domestic violence

By Thabiti Anyabwile - Aug 7, 2014 - (1)

When your job is to talk and you talk as much and as bombastically as Stephen A. Smith, you’re bound to say some things that get you into trouble. Usually Smith doesn’t care one bit. But last Friday the ESPN commentator made some comments about domestic violence that has him back pedaling and trying to explain himself.…

Read More

Obamacare: It’s a Tax

By Barrett Duke - Jul 2, 2012

Well, the Supreme Court did the unexpected. In a 5-4 decision that had Chief justice John Roberts siding with the liberal wing, the Court upheld the individual mandate requiring every American to have government-approved health insurance.…

Read More

The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived

By Trillia Newbell - Feb 28, 2014

Our faith stands on the shoulders of one person: Jesus Christ. Many of us, however, have never studied what it was like for our Savior to walk out his final days on earth. Justin Taylor, PhD candidate at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and vice president of book publishing and an associate publisher at Crossway, wrote a book to help us understand those final days.…

Read More

Russell Moore on C-SPAN Washington Journal

By Elizabeth Bristow - Oct 14, 2014

Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, talked about the role evangelical Christian voters would play in the 2014 midterm elections, and what issues would drive them to the polls in a C-SPAN Washington Journal interview Oct.

Read More