It is one thing to look good but another thing to do good. Are you looking good or doing good? Many people are more interested in looking good than doing good. They want to appear righteous rather than being righteous. They are more concerned about their reputation than their character. They have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5). I like the way the New Living Translation renders 2 Timothy 3:5: “They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!” Titus 1:16 says, “Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good”
God has not called us to have a pretentious, sanctimonious look – a facade. Our preoccupation shouldn’t be to make ourselves look good to people but rather to do good to people.
There are two kinds of good works a person can do. There is the good work that is hidden from others. It is done not in the full glare of the public, therefore it may not be appreciated by people. This kind of good work is not attractive to those who are attention seekers or those seeking public recognition. This kind of work may be hidden from the public and doers may not be applauded by people, but it is not hidden from God. The other kind of good work a person can do is the one that is done in public and is recognised and applauded. The natural man prefers this to the former. “In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light” (1Timothy 5:25 NLT).
God has not called us to look good to people; He has called us to do good to them. Jesus redeemed us and purified us to be zealous for good works. (Titus 2:14) And the Bible says, “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly father” (Matthew5:16).
We have no business trying to impress people by our good works while refraining from doing good works because people are not watching us and will not commend us. Our mandate is to do good and not to call attention to ourselves, otherwise we would have received our reward. “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your father in heaven.
When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your father who sees everything will reward you” (Matthew 6:1-4 NLT).
That does not mean that it is a sin to do good deeds publicly if that is the only appropriate thing to do at such time. What Jesus was condemning in that scripture is hypocrisy and playing to the gallery. The real issue is the motive behind the good deeds done publicly.
Jesus did his good deeds in public but that did not mean that he was seeking people’s attention. Acts 10:38 says, “And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him”(NLT). Speaking about his ministry vis-a-vis the attack against him, he said in John 10:32, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?” (NIV)
As a believer in Christ Jesus, you should devote yourself to doing good by following his example rather than go about trying to look good while your life is devoid of good works.
“This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone” (Titus 3:8 NLT). This truth is emphasised further in Titus 3:14. “Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others ;then they will not be unproductive” (NLT). Notice that the scripture says we should learn to do good, not to look good. Spiritual leaders are not excluded from this. They are not to preach about it only; they must be an example of good works. They are not to look good, they must do good. “And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind” (Titus 2:7 NLT).
The Bible has the same word for those who are rich. “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life (1Tim 6: 17-19 NLT).
It should not surprise one that the Bible specifically tells the rich to do good works because there is a tendency for rich people to be stingy, selfish and uncaring. Most of them will not do good works if it would not attract media publicity to them, or if it is not tied to any public award or recognition. Their philanthropic deeds have strings attached to them such as conferment of honours, votes of the electorate, and favour from the government. But these are not the conditions in the Bible for doing good deeds. In Mark 14:7, Jesus says,
“You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to…’’(NLT).
There is no gender exclusion in doing good deeds. The demand is upon both men and women. Women are to do good works rather than be satisfied with looking good. “For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do” (1 Timothy 2:10 NLT). And according to the Bible, doing good deeds is a pre-requisite for a widow to be on the list of widows the church will take care of.
“A widow who is put on the list for support must be a woman who is at least sixty years old and was faithful to her husband. She must be well respected by everyone because of the good she has done. Has she brought up her children well? Has she been kind to strangers and served other believers humbly? Has she helped those who are in trouble? Has she always been ready to do good?” (1Timothy 5:9-10 NLT)
Dorcas was an example of good works by women. She was full of good works. “There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas).