Thursday, February 6, 2014

Compelled to Do Good

“What is the worth of my life if it is not a blessing unto others?”

Earlier in January, I stumbled on a letter I received in January 2004, exactly ten years ago, while rummaging through some old documents. And I found the above statement written at the back of the letter.

The letter was written by a lady I got to know when I was living in Tamale, Ghana. It brought back a load of memories of my time there. I attended the Lighthouse Chapel International during my stay in Tamale from 2001 to 2003, and became very close to the Pastors of the Church, Pastors Patrick and Joy Bruce. Not only was I welcomed with open arms and made to feel at home in a strange environment, these two became truly a blessing of God to my family and me. I will put this in context shortly. I also had the opportunity of befriending many young ladies (some preparing for marriage) and many young couples. I still maintain contact and a good relationship with some of these people.

I had to leave Tamale hurriedly in a critical health situation. I was evacuated first to Accra and eventually to Geneva for medical attention. It was the Pastor and his wife who took care of my children before they could join me in Accra en-route for Geneva. They, along with other members of the church, helped to pack my personal effects for the trip and took care of my house until I could return back to Tamale three months later to tidy up my affairs and prepare for my departure from my duty station. I had an already established home in Geneva, having all these young ladies and couples in my life provided me the opportunity to bless others with the household items I had acquired in Tamale. The writer of the aforementioned letter was one of the recipients of the items I gave away.

In her letter, she reminded me of a message I shared during a Sunday Service and how God used that message to minister to her later at a time of need. She also wrote that when she received the items I left for her, she thought it was a mistake because she did not think I knew her name until she saw it pasted on the items. She noted she had spent her first salary learning how to bake so that she can have an additional source of income. Receiving the baking tins was an answer to her prayers.

I was overwhelmed reading the letter again even after 10 years. It was a joy to note that when we follow God’s leading, we can be used by Him to meet specific and targeted needs. I don’t know at what point I wrote the message behind the letter but reading both together was what trigger the blogs posted in the last three weeks on compelling motivations. The question on my heart as I read and re-read the letter and message was, why do we do the things we do?

Here is the rest of the message I wrote behind the letter:

“If you live your life based on what people think or say about you, your life will be very limited and shallow. It is God Who sees and judges the intent of the heart. It is His reward and medal that you want not those of men.

In the ministry of blessing and reaching out, you will be misunderstood, judged wrongly and your motives will be questioned. But all these will not matter as long as you are motivated by the desire to do the will of God and by the desire to do what is right simply because it is right to do so.”

My greatest heart desire is to be a conduit of God’s blessing to as many as God will bring my way. I desire to be an inexhaustible dispenser of good based on God’s charge to Abraham: “Be thou a blessing.” See related blog post: Be Thou A Blessing

Sometimes we can be a blessing to others out of abundance and sometimes it is simply because it is right to do so, even if it means denying ourselves to enable us meet the needs of others. Sometimes it is out of convenience but most times, it can be simply inconveniencing. So whatever the circumstances under which we respond to God’s leading in our heart to be a blessing and even when we are misunderstood and our motives questioned, what is critical and most important therefore, is our motive for wanting to be a blessing and to do good to others.

What therefore should be our irresistible moral justification for being a blessing or for doing good to others?

First, we are commanded to do so in the Bible: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10 KJV). The Holman translation of this verse says that as we have the opportunity we must work for the good of all people, especially those of the household of faith. Proverbs 3:27 admonishes us not to withhold good from those it is due, when it is in our power to act. So we do good to all men out of obedience to God’s command. Because he that knows how to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin (James 4:17).

Secondly, as I indicated in my blog post, Compelling Motivations; “A truly grateful heart will long to demonstrate its thankfulness by pleasing the One Who has been kind and generous to him.” We position ourselves to be a blessing to others out of sheer gratitude to God for His awesome goodness to us.

Be Generous

Our generosity must extend to all men, not just to our friends and relations. As long as we have the ability, we are encouraged as the occasions presents itself, to respond to the needs of those around us. There are many blessings promised to those who are generous, they will be enriched in every way to continue to be a blessing to others; he that shares his food with the poor is blessed (Prov. 22:9). Also, our generous giving causes praise and thanks to be given to God by the recipients (2Cor. 9:11).

Our time here on earth is a seed time, we will reap an everlasting harvest when we sow well. We are encouraged to persevere in well doing so that we can receive a good reward.

Heart Check

There have been many times when I have asked myself why I like giving things out to people and blessing them with gifts, which I pray would be useful to them. I asked what my reasons and motives are, and what I hope to accomplish by doing this. Sometimes, I had to be hard on myself about clarifying this, because the last thing I want is to get a man’s reward. As much joy as it brings me being a blessing to others, I want to be sure in my heart that it is God that I am looking up to for reward and appreciation. It cannot, at any time be, for the purpose of being labelled by anyone as a generous woman.

While it is good to do such heart checks as often as possible, it is important to note that this must not become a barrier or a limitation to doing what you know strongly in your heart that God has called you to do. If we are guided by what men think of us, we will be limited and restricted in responding to God’s leading and doing His will.

At What Cost

The will of God will never lead us to where His grace cannot sustain us. I have been guilty in the past of putting a strain on our family finances in my bid to bless people. I have since learnt that there is a right way of doing the right thing and there is also a wrong way. The end does not justify the means.

Since I cannot afford to jeopardize the lives of the significant people God has bless me with in a bid to be a blessing, I must therefore take time to listen to God for leading and direction on how to carry out His will and assignment for me. If I try to do it in my own strength and wisdom, it will exert a huge cost on not only me but also on those close to me. That will not glorify the name of God.

So, dear friends, in what ways are you fulfilling the charge given to us to do good to all men? What challenges have you had along the way? How did you overcome these challenges? Share with us and encourage others.

It requires a definite decision and concrete actions to be a blessing to others. I encourage you to make that decision and take that concrete step today. You are blessed beyond measures.


  1. A beautiful post, Irene. I never knew you had lived in Tamale, infact my country before. (smile) This post ministered to me and concretised issues for me. (smile). I am a generous person who gives without thinking and feels guilty if I have something and refuse to help. I just can't say no. A lot of people owe me money for years now and I cannot ask them because I just don't have it in me to do so.

    Now, after a few nasty experiences, I have learned to listen to the voice of God before giving!

    Thank you for this post and have a lovely weekend!

    1. Dear Celestine, thanks for your kind words. I travelled around Ghana quite a bit during my sojourn there and was blessed with great friends with whom I've maintained a close contact.

      I also learnt some hard and painful lessons, and in many instances, I had to forego what I was owed. But the bottom line is that I know it is the will of God for us to be generous and to reach out. I am learning to do that guided and led by the Holy Spirit.

      Looking forward to meeting you when God grants me the grace to visit Ghana again. Warm thots.


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