Once St. Anthony was asked, “What good work shall I do?” And he answered. “All works are not equal, the scriptures said that Abraham was hospitable, and God was with him. And, Elijah loved quiet, and God was with him. And, David was humble, and God was with him. What therefore you find that your soul desires in following God, that do, and keep your heart.”
—-Sayings of the Desert
What a great place to start! All of us who seek to follow the path of God are anxious to find a way to do good works. The world tells us that some works are better than others. We get the idea that unless we are doing certain things, in very precise ways, God is disappointed with us. Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” The point that was being made was in reference to children but the truth holds. In the time of Jesus, children were possessions and nothing more. With that in mind, Jesus said that doing good or bad things to them was significant. That says to me that all works are significant.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has given away 28 billion dollars to charitable causes and good works since 2013. That’s a lot of good works. My giving, good works and all that I have cannot match such a figure in worldly terms, but God blesses my good works with the same blessing as he blesses the billions. This lesson is so important to learn that the Monk felt compelled to teach it. The world functions by size and impact. God functions by the impact that our works have on our souls and the souls of others. The message from the desert is simple.
Bill and Melinda Gates visiting a Foundation supported worksite.
ALL GOD DRIVEN WORKS ARE EQUAL
The prophets cited by the Monk were doing the works that God had put into their souls. We all have a certain spiritual DNA that gives us a way to gloriously serve God and our fellow creation.
YOUR GOOD WORKS ARE OF VALUE TO GOD
Low self-esteem, poor self-image, and bad circumstance erode away at our view of what constitutes good works. If we follow the advice that has come to us from the desert, we can know that God sees what we do as something of value. Doing the good works of God is not a competitive contest but an outpouring of love from our spirit.
GOD GIVES EACH OF US DIFFERENT WAYS TO SERVE
Plainly, we can see that the Kings and prophets served in diverse ways. Some were more showy and noticeable than others. The level of notoriety does not constitute the value of the work.
GOD DISTRIBUTES HIS BLESSINGS ACCORDING TO OUR ABILITY
The scripture teaches that we all have certain spiritual gifts that were bestowed on us by God. Our challenge as followers of Jesus is to use those God-given gifts to serve our world and by doing so we serve Him.
What good work should I do? Simply stated, you should do the work that God has given you the resources and ability to accomplish.
Lord, give me the motivation to do your good works no matter how small. I know that you see my works through your lens. Help me not to be pressured to do the showy things but to get the peaceful contentment of doing the works that you have presented to me.