A few weeks ago I had the privilege of speaking at the “Raising Expectations” conference. My subject and point was that only those created in Chrsit Jesus can do the good works the world requires. Because, Christians are the ones who by the will of God participate in the reconciliation of all things. God prepared good works for those whom he also predestined and these good works are a gift to the world. Which people will praise God for on the day of His visitation.
But think for a moment of that time when Jesus cursed the fig tree. In Mark chapter 11 the fig tree along with the temple form a chiastic structure with the temple being the central focus. Jesus finds the people of God robbing God, for His house was to be a house of prayer for all nations, but they had made a den of thieves. They had robbed the purpose of the temple, they had robbed God from receiving praise from all those of all nations and in doing so they also robbed the people of a place to pray. The spiritual fruitlessness found in a busy and active temple is reflected in the fig tree which Jesus curses. Not all work and activity is consistent with the reconciliation of all things.
In this world all charity would be seen as good, but not all charity is the same. For there is a charity completed under the sun and a charity completed under the Lord. I speak of it in this way so as to identify the motive behind what we do and where those good deeds lead.
Some look at a homeless man or any other charitable need and see the fulfilment of those needs as the good work which can be done to help the situation. Their motive for doing such a work stem from the belief that life should have its basic needs met and this motivates them to be charitable. But once those needs are met, then what? It is exactly at this point when the church’s motive is not seen for what it is, but rather as seeking to serve only to get something in return (time and opportunity to speak the gospel). Therefore in the eyes of the world the church’s charity comes with strings attached and therefore not a true form of charity.
But our calling and the good works which we are called to do, which have been prepared include the actions that lead to the reconciliation of all things. Its true that the church’s charity is not like the worlds but this is because we are motivated with the end in mind and recognise that our good works are a gift to the world from God which is our participation in the reconciliation of all things.