Not So Good
A Bible lesson about doing good works

Go around the group and find out if anyone can tell about a time that they were inspired or motivated by hearing about something good done by another Christian.

When you do something good  is it alright for someone else to know about your good works?  (Take answers)

Are there times when we should not tell about good works? (Take answers)

Are there times when we should  tell about good works? (Take answers)

Does anyone know off the top of their heads what the Bible has to say about this? (Take answers)

Read Mathew 6:1
"Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men to be seen by them.  Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven."

What is Mathew 6:1 saying?
(Take answers)

Read Mathew 5:16
"Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

One verse says that others should see your good works. 
The other verse says that you should NOT let others see your good works–So, which is it?
(Take answers)

  What is the difference between these two verses?
(Glorifying God vs. Glorifying self)

Read Mathew 6:3
"But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing..."

Get opinions from members of  the group about what they think Mathew 6:3 means.

Read the verse again, but this time substitute ‘one person’ for 'your left hand' and ‘the other person’ for ‘your right hand.'
"But when you do a charitable deed, do not let one person know what the other person is doing..."

When we read the verse that way, it sounds like it's okay to tell as long as we leave the people's names out.

Is it alright to tell of someone’s good works if the names are left out? (depends on the motive)

Telling stories about the good works you or someone else have done can be a very effective way to inspire others and bring glory to God; however, it can also be a very effective way of bringing glory to yourself, to another person, to an organization, or even to a specific church.  Unfortunately, stories about good works can also be used to spread gossip!

An example of spreading gossip:
“George Smith’s wife was caught cheating on him.  It was going on for years and George didn’t even know about it.  George was very upset about the whole thing and began suffering from depression.  So, I gave him some Bible verses to read and God’s Word was able to comfort him and bring him out of his depression.  Praise God!”

An example of glory to self:
“We saved up $8,000 for a vacation.  The whole family worked really hard to save up all that money for our vacation.  Then some missionaries came to our church and we decided to send the money to help the poor people in Africa.  Praise God that He was able to use us to help those people in Africa.”

An example of doing it right:
“Someone in the church saw a needy family who had no food so this person got through the month on only half of the money he would normally spend on groceries.  He then used the other half of the money to buy food for this family.  He found out later that just before he brought them the food, the family had been praying for God to provide them something to eat.  Praise God that He used one of His people to answer the prayer of another.”

Each and every time we are about to tell a story of the good works of ourselves or someone else, we need to think about our motives before opening our mouths.  

This lesson plan is copyright © 2007 by Keith Rawlinson.  Since you are encouraged to use this lesson plan for yourself or with others, this lesson may be copied and distributed without the author's permission as long as it is for the sole purpose of a Bible lesson.  It may  not be used, distributed or copied for any other purpose and may not be included as part of any other work. or website without written consent of the author.

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