Ephesians 2:10 “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
There’s an old fable that goes something like this:
A farmer worked for years to breed what was in his mind the perfect horse: strong, steady, tall, with a beautiful black coat. Foal and colt were born, one after another, yet none were the horse he had in mind. His horses sold well though, and his fortunes steadily increased, yet he knew the perfect horse would bring him fame throughout the land.
Finally, the horse was born that met his vision. He raised, groomed, and trained the horse, all the while facing a dilemma he had not foreseen; he didn’t know what to do with the horse. He couldn’t sell it —it was too perfect to put in the hands of another owner. He also didn’t feel right keeping such a specimen only for himself. After many months of struggle, he finally knew what to do, he would give it to the King. His King had been such a benevolent and kind ruler, without such a King, the farmer knew there was little chance of raising such a horse. A princely horse deserved a Kingly home.
Soon after, he was in the King’s court, presenting the horse. The King was so moved by this sincere act of gratitude, he offered the farmer land and gold, saying, “You have shown yourself a worthy and faithful subject. Take these gifts and go in peace.” The farmer, expecting nothing in return, knelt in deep reverence and gratitude, and vowed his continued loyalty to the king.
A member of the King’s court saw this and thought, “If a farmer could get so much in exchange for a horse, what could I, an esteemed nobleman, get for something of far greater value?” So the next day he came to the King and offered a precious golden chalice, a family heirloom from many generations. The King gladly accepted the gift and moved to dismiss the nobleman. Confused, the nobleman objected, “Your Highness, is there nothing you have for me in return?”
The King, patient and wise, answered, “The farmer gave a gift to me out of the overflow of his love and gratitude. You, on the other hand, were merely seeking to give a gift to yourself.”
What does this story tell us about a Christian’s motivation for doing good works?
(Answer: Christian’s don’t do good works to get something from God (favor, blessings, rewards, gifts), rather, Christians do good works as a natural response to our love and gratitude for all God has done for us.)
Father, we are all tempted at times to think Christianity is about doing good works to gain favor with God. Help us to remember that you deeply love us, that You are our perfect heavenly Father, and we do not become Your children through our efforts. Help us to live full of joy and gratitude for your love for us. May that joy spill out through our actions as we live and serve others.