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by Gary Knuckles

 If you’re like me, you have probably been in more trouble for the things you haven’t done than for the things you have done! Now, I have been in trouble for doing things I should not have done (breaking a window, making my sister cry, sneaking an extra piece of cake, etc.). But, it seems I got in more trouble for what I didn’t do (not cleaning my room, not taking out the trash, not getting my homework done on time…..you get the picture!).

Jesus once told of a man who boasted before the Lord of the things he had not done in life. He said, “…God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers…” (Lk. 18:11) To be sure, it is good that this man did not do these things. But, it appears that he wanted to be known more for what he didn’t do than what he did do! This man did fast twice in the week and gave tithes of all he possessed, but where is his record of good deeds? It seems that his actions were more perfunctory than heartfelt and sincere.

To be sure, each of us should avoid things that are sinful before God or that might reflect negatively on our character. Remember, Paul admonished us to avoid “every form of evil.” (1 Thess. 5:22) Part of our faith rests on our ability to resist temptation and not identify with the things of the world. But, is that all there is to our reputation?

Wouldn’t it be good to be known by the things we do that reflect the faith of our heart? For instance, Barnabas was known as the “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36, ESV) and not as “the son of un-bad things.” We remember “Luke, the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14), not “Luke, who didn’t let me get sick.” Tychicus was a “beloved brother and faithful minister” (Eph. 6:21), not “Tychicus, who didn’t cause me any grief.”

If you were to describe yourself, what would you say? “I didn’t do this/that/or the other thing” or would you say something like, “I helped someone, today?” Too many times, we are known for what we don’t do than what we do that is positive and brings people to faith in God! Jesus said we should be salt and light so that people may see our good works and “glorify God.” (Mt. 5:13-16) People may not see what we don’t do, but they will see the things we do…especially the things that bless others and make a positive impact on the world around us!

Gary Knuckles lives in Benton, KY and preaches for the Briensburg Church of Christ.

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If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8