When Philanthropy is Not Good Enough

[Image by United Nations Photos]

Straddling my coat close to my body, I walk into my home on St. Belizze avenue, relieved to finally return home after a long winter day's work. My young maid rushes to take away my coat and store it in the usual place. I smile when I see her, the familiar surrounds me once again. What I need now is a hot tub filled with spices and herbs, and decorated with scented candles all about. So I walk up the staircase with the excitement of turning this thought into the reality of an aromatherapy paradise.

As I sink into the tub, I get flashes of all the good I accomplished today. As the CEO of Mercy Cooperation, a well-known non-profit philanthropic enterprise, there are always tons of good to do in the world.

Today was another special day for me. I joined my staff in visiting an abandoned site where lepers live, away from the stabs of the society. I was surprised to see so many of them living in abject poverty. I had thought leprosy was a disease that was no longer existent. It now has a more modern name, Hanson's disease. We were able to distribute money, food, and medical supplies to these outcasts. After that, we visited an orphanage, closer to home this time. It's sad to see little children with no parents, in fact when one of the little girls came up to give me a kiss on my cheeks, I could not help but give way to my own tears. We gave them the same supplies we had. Their caretakers were extremely grateful to me for coming.

On a scale of one to ten, I would probably receive a ten for all the good I had done at sixty years of age. I never got married, but I have adopted children all over the continent. I have my own company and estates around the globe. But most of all, I treasure these deeds such as accomplished on this day. Nevertheless, with each passing day, I cannot help but think there is one thing I lack. Just one more thing to fit into the puzzle, something to make everything right.

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 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For [Jesus] Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 10: 2-4

Many times, people think that if they can just be 'good citizens' or if they can be the most 'philanthropic' souls, then that should be good enough.

Yet, no matter how much we try to be "good," our flesh has denied us the pleasure of attaining full righteousness in ourselves. Paul put it this way, "For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice...I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good...O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God- through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

No matter how much we try to be good, there is a constant battle between our sinful flesh and the part of us that wants to do good. This is why Jesus went willingly to the cross, as a sheep for the slaughter, to die for our sins, so that because of Him, righteousness will be ascribed to us. Our righteousness (the things we do with the goodness of our hearts) is only like a filthy rag in God's eyes. It can never be enough, because there will always be a part of us that struggles with doing the wrong things. Except we have Christ and begin to work in the Spirit so that we don't fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

The one thing the woman lacked in the fictional story above was Jesus. If she could only believe that only God could complete her righteousness, then she would be a perfect ten. None of us is a perfect ten by believing our philanthropic acts are good enough. Without the blood of Jesus, I am nothing. Without the perfection of God, I am imperfect.

So keep doing good deeds, for God will bless you tremendously when you do. Actually, if you are truly in Christ, good deeds will automatically be a part of your life. Yet, the message for today is that your good philanthropic acts will never be enough for you to ascribe righteousness to yourself. Our righteousness is not sufficient to save us, only God's righteousness can.

Question(s) for the Day: Have you ever believed that your philanthropic acts make you good enough? And that you don't need anything else?