“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 13:16, ESV)
As a young boy, one of the things that I sought was to please my father. He often asked me to help him with projects. Now, I was kind of a lazy young person and would rather loaf around on a weekend. Yet, these were the times that my dad wanted to do some sort of construction thing. I did not rebel against his request for help and jumped in because I wanted to please him. On other occasions, he often wanted to get up at 4:00 am to drive to the beach fishing. Again, I would have preferred sleeping in, but went with him to please him.
Later in life I went to college and studied engineering. I went into the military service as a commissioned officer. In these endeavors, there was an effort to excel because I knew that this would please my father.
Not everyone cares about pleasing their earthly fathers, but every believer in Jesus should be concerned about pleasing their heavenly Father. The author of Hebrews gives his readers three ways in verses 15-16 to please God. All of these have to do with sacrifice of one’s self. First, as mentioned in the previous devotion, there is a “sacrifice of praise.” When we praise God for who He is and all He has done, we please Him.
In verse 16 we see two areas of sacrifice. First is the richness of good works. We are to do good and in doing good, we please God. Jesus stated, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, AV). Our good works will be manifested in doing the things God has called us to do in the way He commands us to do it in the Bible. In this we are to do good for all.
Verse 16 also tells us to “share what we have.” The phrase is translated from the word, koinonia, also translated fellowship, communion, community, joint participation, etc. The thought is that we are to do good being considerate of the needs of others in our community. This is most likely referring to the community of professing Jewish Christians to whom the author wrote. However, we cannot exclude the thought that this might also include the communities in which people live. Considering the needs of others in our community goes beyond just sharing material possessions, to include meeting the emotional and spiritual needs of others.
In all of these good works which please God, we have one other huge consideration. This is impossible apart from faith. Earlier the author wrote, “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6, AV). Our good works do not come before true saving faith. Faith comes first and then our works proceed from faith. Thus, God is glorified because He has created us for good works that He prepared for us to do (Eph 2:10).
So, we please God when we walk by faith. This is because our walk of faith results in the sacrifice of praise with our lips, a life rich in good works, and a sacrificial consideration of others. Walk by faith. Live by the Spirit. Glorify God.