Now You Are A Good-For-Nothing Christian
I’ve got this rather amusing story someone told me a while back that I’d like to share with you.
A pastor was traveling with a group of people when the car developed a flat tire. I bet like all good folks, you’d expect that the next step would be for someone to come out and change the tire for the spare.
Well, the pastor in question had other ideas. The first question he asked was “who has not been paying his/her tithe regularly?” As it turns out, the driver was guilty of the charge. And in an act of seemingly righteous vindication, the pastor sacked the driver on the spot.
So, there we have it, your tithe is an immunity against the usual events of life. The story would have been funny if it was not true.
The Return Of Works
The problem with this sort of thinking is that we have quietly introduced the doctrine of works into church life without knowing it. The doctrine of works is quite simple to understand – you do “something” for God and then God gives you an I-O-U which you can collect on when you need it.
Most of us remember the story of the tax collector and the Pharisee in the bible (Luke 18:9-14). Growing up, we used to beat on the Pharisee for everything he said about all he was doing to get God’s approval. Jesus ends the story by saying, “I can guarantee that this tax collector went home with God’s approval, but the Pharisee didn’t.”
Honestly, most of us act like the Pharisee. For example, we tell God that because we give offerings and tithes, He is under obligation to do what we want in any area of life we choose and in the way we choose.
When Pharisees Ruled The Roost
In our confusion to try and understand God’s commitment to reward our faithfulness, we have come perilously to the conclusion that our faithfulness commits God to act as we choose. This is how we now try to encourage good behavior in one another.
For example, we tell people to give offerings & tithes so that we can commit God to increase us financially or protect us from some mishap in the future. The problem is that God has already committed to giving us all this when we turned to Him through Jesus Christ – “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom 8:32).
The saying, “even a broken clock is right twice a day”, applies to most of us. A number of times we assume because we got something from God just after we did an act of faithfulness that the reason we got it is due to what we did. God lets us get away with such thinking because of His mercy and it doesn’t reduce Him by any bit.
Good For Nothing Christians
Our faithfulness or our “doing good” is not a basis for demanding anything from God. It is simply a thankful response to the life of Christ that we have received (Eph 2:10). We don’t do good so we can get one over God. We do good because it is the new nature we live and the life we have been called into. We don’t do good to get something from God, we do our good for nothing because it’s God’s nature. We are good for nothing Christians.
God is excited when He sees His family doing their good for nothing. He finds ways to reward us for doing this – just like a Father would. But He does not provide (food, shelter, security, healing etc.) for us – because of the good we do. He would do that anyway as our loving Father.
The picture is rather quite easy to understand. Let me fill you in on it
1.The sacrifice of Christ is the reason we now have God as our father
As a father, He would give us everything we need. He may not give us everything we want or when we want it but He always comes through for us. We don’t need to create new ways to increase our ratings with Him.
2.His Fatherhood does not shield us completely from everyday life challenges
Sometimes things happen – not because of any sin or some good we didn’t do, they are just part of living in a fallen world (1 Cor 10:13). We also may never understand why on this side of heaven.
Our faithfulness or our “doing good” is not a basis for demanding anything from God. It is simply a thankful response to the life of Christ that we have received. We do good because it is the new nature we live and the life we have been called into.
3.Our account with God is permanently in red
There is probably nothing you can do that would top the sacrifice of Christ. So, if you are trying to demand based on what you have done, just be sure that it ranks higher than Jesus on the cross. I bet you can’t top that anyway.
4.God notices every “good for nothing” action you do
Even though He is not in your debt (Rom 11:35), He would still find ways to appreciate when you do good for nothing (Heb 6:10). The way He appreciates you is up to Him – He may even keep all the appreciation for the other side of heaven (2 Tim 4:8). By the way, sometimes the reward for a good for nothing action is more work (Matt 25:28-30)
The picture is not the old testament where you had to do something to be accepted or get something from God. God has already given us all we need in Christ Jesus (Eph 1:3). When we pray, we are not trying to move an unwilling God. We are laying hold of God’s infinite willingness to provide for His children.
When we pray, we are not trying to move an unwilling God. We are laying hold of God’s infinite willingness to provide for His children
We do good because it is our nature. We don’t do it for the reward. We do it for nothing.
We are just good for nothing children of God.