C.S. Lewis helps to differentiate “good works” from “Good Work.” Good works are the charitable efforts we, often feeling obligated, do. They are the almsgiving, soup-kitchen serving and mentoring efforts we spend our disposable time doing.
While that is part of Good Work–it is not enough. God’s desire is not for us to merely do good works, but for us to be His Good Work. This means we allow His Good Work to permeate all of our lives: our finances, our schedules, our tasks, our relationships.
God does not desire our minimal sacrifices, nor the charitable deeds that we squeeze into our schedules to remedy the guilt we feel over that round of golf or IPA. Nor does he want us to go on short-term mission trips so that our kids can be exposed to a world different from the beaches of the Carribbean we vacation on.
He wants more. He wants our work, our efforts, our thoughts, our energy to be Good.
Good Work is viewing our daily labor as moments to bear God’s kingdom to the watching world.
Once Martin Luther was approached by a man who asked him how he could serve the Lord. Luther asked, “Well, what is your work?”
Expecting to be told to go and become a monk, or to give money to the church, or to serve the homeless breakfast on the second Tuesday of the month, the man embarassingly replied “I am a shoemaker.”
Surprisingly, Luther replied “Then make a good shoe and sell it at a fair price.” Luther would not allow him to escape his daily grind, but challenged him to view it as an opportunity to be the best and fairest shoemaker in the town. Serving the Lord is not something separate from what we are already called to do; it is doing it with Him in mind.
In scripture, the farming community was commanded not to harvest the outer edges. They were to leave the outer edges of their land to be gleaned by the widows, orphan and working poor. In leaving this buffer, not only were they providing good works for the poor, but more importantly they were demonstrating Good Work.
In God’s design, the farmers were not allowed to maximize their profits. They were forced to leave money on the table. They were showing a commitment to something greater than the almighty dollar. Their work left margin for others, and dependence on Him.
So, in what ways is your Good Work serving the Lord? How can you move from doing good works towards being His Good Work? Are you trying to maximize every moment of life, or are you allowing margins so that others may benefit from your work?