In our day and age, when someone says, “I’m a Christian,” many thoughts come to the mind of those who hear. Some may think that means “I’m anti-gay,” or “I’m anti-abortion,” or “I’m a Republican.” When we tell someone we are a Christian, what should come to mind? What should those people be thinking? Is it some political stance or some ancient way of life taken from some old book? What should Christians be known for? I’ll tell you what Christians should be known for: good deeds. A Christian should be someone whose life is full of good deeds that benefit others. That is what should come to mind when people hear us say we follow Christ. People should think, “Oh, you’re a Christian, then you are one of those people always doing good deeds for others.” That is what they should think.
Paul mentions the need for Christians to engage in good deeds over and over again in his instructions to Titus. He tells Titus to teach young men to be “an example of good deeds” (2:7). He says Jesus is purifying a people (us) who are “zealous for good deeds (2:14). He says we should be “ready for every good deed (3:1). He says “be careful to engage in good deeds” (3:8) and that the people must also learn to “engage in good deeds” (3:14). Lastly, it is a false Christian who professes to know God but really deny Him by his/her “deeds” (1:16). Christians should be known for their good deeds.
To sum up Paul’s instructions to Titus about this issue we could say the following: Christians should set the example of those who do good deeds, we should be excited and passionate about doing good deeds, we should be ready at any time to do good deeds, we should be careful and compassionate in how we do good deeds, and lastly we need to actually get out there and do the good deeds.
Now, what exactly are the “good deeds?” Can it be something like baking a cake for a friend? Or does it have to be something more ‘spiritual’ like sharing the gospel or inviting someone to church. I think it can really be all of the above. Jesus talked about giving food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, inviting in strangers, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, and going to see those in prison (Matt 25:35-36). What do all of those have in common? They all reveal an overall attitude of help and service to those who cannot repay you. It is really about doing something for others without expecting anything in return. If you bake a cake for a friend, not expecting one in return, then that would be a good deed. If you share the gospel with a co-worker because you love them and want to see them saved, then that would be a good deed.
Paul’s instructions to Titus clarify what a good deed is when he says, “These things are good and profitable for all men” (3:8). The key word there is “profitable.” Do your deeds bring profit to the other individual? Of course we are not talking about financial profit, but simply the actions that would better them in some way. Giving them a cake to brighten their day could profit them. Seeing someone saved is definitely a profit to them. Are the deeds we are performing bringing profit to others? That is the definition of a good deed.
It seems today that the word ‘Christian’ has a negative connotation to it. People look upon Christians in a bad light. Now, some of that is because the world is in opposition to God. Jesus was the greatest man who ever lived and they crucified Him! Just because we behave like Jesus doesn’t mean the world will love us. But, if you look at the behavior and actions of Jesus, they were filled with good deeds. He was always bringing profit to others in a gracious way, not expecting anything in return. Let us take up that model and engage in good deeds.