Bright and early on Saturday morning on May 16th about 35 Christ-followers from Good News joined 180 other Christians from five other area evangelical churches to serve our neighbors in North Attleboro.
We sweated through 42 cubic yards of mulch, cleaning out and dressing hundreds of feet of flower beds, borders and monuments at the North Attleboro Town Hall. And while we were at it, a team from Living Waters Community Church painted the 10′ tall chain link fence surrounding the town pool.
A few blocks away, teams from Crossway Church and Twin Rivers Community Church power-washed and scrubbed the memorial bricks in the downtown sidewalks, and replanted flower beds.
On the other side of town, teams from South Attleboro Assembly of God and Faith Alliance Church cleaned up the play area and the Zoo at the WWI Memorial Park, dragging huge loads of leaves to the woods and making the Park attractive.
What’s the point? Why should evangelical churches do a cleanup in town? There are at least four good reasons (and actually many more than four!).
First, Jesus said “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). While “good works” don’t earn anyone extra points on their ticket to heaven, they so stand out when compared with the “bad works” of evil that we see and hear in the news and the “I’m way too busy for that” lifestyles of our fast moving culture.
It is worth a few minutes of your time to do a word study through the New Testament and see just how many times Christ-followers are encouraged, commanded, exhorted and urged to be active in “good works,” “good deeds,” and “do good.” (Feel free to use an online “concordance” like www.biblegateway.com or www.bible.org. There’s a prize for the right answer! Let me know what you discover!)
Second, Jesus set the example – and we should follow in his steps.
Jesus spent much of his public ministry serving the real and practical needs of others – his own disciples, the poor, the hungry, the sick, and the needy.
And in case the disciples didn’t understand, Jesus told them clearly “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:14,15).
Third, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).
In a day when “religion” gets a bad rap in the press–and evangelical Christians in particular are more closely associated with a particular brand of politics than with Jesus Christ–it’s a good thing for Christ followers to demonstrate pure and faultless religion in acts of servanthood and kindness.
Fourth, too often the universal bride of Christ, the body of Christ, the “church,” is seen as divided and consumed with internecine squabbles.
But Jesus said that we would authenticate his eternal Sonship, his incarnated deity, by our love and unity. “…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21).
It was good for one morning to work side by side with some of those we will spend eternity with side by side and demonstrate for any who cared to notice our love and unity.
So, saints of Good News, let’s “not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9,10 – KJV).
Resting in Him,