So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden. 1 Timothy 5:25
A few years back, a buddy and I were working on starting a recovery group. We invited several others to join, but no one was showing up and we felt like failures. We wanted to reach out and help those who’d struggled as we had, but our efforts seemed futile. It was disappointing, but then it hit me – We should probably just be glad that our lives are in a place where we’re able to try and help others. Just a few years ago, our lives were disasters. Success isn’t whether anyone shows up to our group. Success is living a new life and trying to help others find it as well. We just need to do what God asks and leave the results up to him. That is success.
In today’s passage, Paul said that some good works are obvious to all. If we run into a burning building to save a child and it’s on the news, everyone will see and know. Most of us don’t have that kind of opportunity on a daily basis though. Today, most of us will have the opportunity simply to do good and live rightly even though it appears no one is watching. Paul went on to say as much. Even those inconspicuous acts that no one sees don’t remain hidden forever though. When we live a life of doing good, even if each individual deed isn’t observed, others still take notice of our transformation.
Maybe my buddy and I weren’t successful in attracting many attendees to our recovery meeting initially. The fact that we were both living different lives though was certainly something that our families noticed and appreciated. Maybe we didn’t make the cover of Newsweek or Time magazine for being hometown heroes, but our transformation was obvious to those whom it mattered most.
Paul said that just as you can’t hide evil forever, you can’t hide good forever. Both will come out eventually. If we lead a life of selfishness, pursuing our own appetites, that will be obvious to all and we will reap the consequences. If, however, we lead a life of selflessness, serving God and others, that will also be obvious to all and we will reap a very different set of consequences. Good or bad, the direction of our lives can’t be hidden forever. Others will eventually see and know exactly what our lives are all about.