The Fruit of Good Works
Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people, that bringing forth in abundance the fruit of good works, they may be abundantly rewarded when our Savior Jesus Christ comes to restore all things; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Every Sunday, we pray a “Collect,” a brief prayer to center our hearts on God. The collect follows a pattern that invokes God’s attributes and actions, makes petitions, acknowledges the eternal unity and sovereignty of the Holy Trinity, and is sealed with an “Amen.”
This week’s collect reminds us that our Lord will reward our good works when He comes again. However, this does not mean that our good works redeem us. Salvation is by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ alone so that no one can brag about their good works (Ephesians 2:8). With that in mind, Paul says that an aspect of our salvation is that God creates us new in Christ to do good works (2:10). To me, The Message paraphrases Paul well: “He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do.”
To become productive Christians, though, we need a daily connection with the Lord Jesus Christ and the constant infilling of the Holy Spirit, so that God’s good work flows through us.
May we join in the prayer that we hear in this collect: Stir up our will, O Lord, because we look forward to the day when we will hear you say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21, 23).
To this, I hope each one of us responds, “Amen!”