I just finished reading a recently published book by two famous Christian writers encouraging Christians to care about and share themselves with the world around them, not counting the cost of personal risk. The authors relate the story of their own search for spiritual growth, obedience to the will of God, and their attempt to love their "neighbors as themselves." The two authors agree that "the loving and concrete helping of people is God's wish for His body the church." But is it? To me, the Christian world seems to be filled to the brim with "good" works that someone has decided that God wants us to do.
A few years ago I belonged to a sharing group that grew into a caring group in a very short time. People were loved, stroked, healed of hurts, challenged, inspired, and set free of resentment, hatred, and jealousy. In their lives in other areas they reached out and helped those in their world as a result of this group experience. It seemed miraculous. I was shocked! Why? Because the people in this group were not Christians. And they loved better than any Christians I had ever known. I was ashamed. What is my point? Simply this: We, Christians, are spending time and effort doing things that any caring human being can do -- it doesn't take a Christian. We are to be about our Father's business. Now here we have something that takes a Christian.
God's work, church work, Christian work, divine work has come to mean work done in a church, for a church, or as the outreach of a church. It is the church's effort to fulfill its mission in the name of Jesus Christ. It can be any "good" work that helps people feel that they are serving God and loving others. But most of it is man-made.
What then is God's work -- divine work? How can we tell the difference? I would like to suggest the following guidelines for your consideration:
The question is not whether it is a good work or a bad work, but "What is its place of origin?" We do not ask, "Is this thing right?" or "Is this thing wrong?" but rather, "Where did it originate?" It is its origin that determines everything. God's work originates with Him.
I have not the time or the energy or the will to any longer work the works of man. I want my life to count eternally. So from this day forward I pray to work the works of God. Scripture tells us that everything that God has not planted will be uprooted. It also states that whatever we do that is not built on the foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ will burn up. What a waste of time and effort to just do good works. May God give us the wisdom to know the difference.
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
John 3: 6