Good works should be the shining light of Jesus

Estimated read time 4 min read

We are called to be the shining light in this world which is powered by Jesus. This applies to all we do. In today’s world Episcopalians and other Christians are involved in charitable works in their community ranging from helping their next door neighbor to far away countries. Often times they will be joined in this work by well meaning humanists. This is a good thing but we should not surrender our faith or deny its relevance to our actions. Without this light there is no truth.

When I talk about humanists I am defining them as persons who do not believe that there is a God but instead that good acts to benefit others are a natural consequence of human evolution and/or societal evolution. Whereas as Episcopalians we are guided by the principles of our Articles of Religion ,found in the Historical Document appendix of the Book of Common Prayer, that we are ultimately justified by God by faith that leads to good works by them. That even if we do more than our duty in performing this work that is not a path to salvation.

As Christians we accept the Word of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ as truth but although we can never fully understand God’s plan we can analyze this concept in a Biblical sense of the issues involved.

First of all Jesus tells us that all of mankind and the world are God’s creation of which we are to be responsible stewards. Our two greatest priorities, Love God and Love Our Neighbor should drive our every actions. We must see all men equally even our enemies. So charity priority should not be directed by their relationship with us or by our secondary gain but rather by the severity of their need. Jesus tells us to give our alms in secret. We should not seek fame or material reward for these actions. Throughout his ministry he attended to the persons conventional society despised or saw as lowly. He taught us that the first shall come last and the last shall come first.

One of my favorite parables is the story I learned so long ago as the “Widow’s mite” found in both the Gospels of Luke and Mark. At the temple the collection box would make a sound reflecting how many coins were dropped into it implying that those present would know who contributed most or less. Jesus points out the poor widow had sacrificed more of her treasure relatively than those who contributed out of their abundance.

In the Old Testament Book of Samuel God warns the Hebrews that having a king will likely to lead to corruption. Civilian authority without faith, because of the corruptible nature of man, can have severe contrary consequences negatively affecting our society. Unfortunately history has shown many examples. The defense against this corruption is the internalization of Christ teachings into all Christians.

Secular humanists have extended scientific evolution into the concept that naturalism is an eternal truth. As scientist myself I look at science as studying relationships between measurable entities in the material world. Science was never meant to create morality. We have only to look at how this application of a perceived natural law led to fascism, discrimination, and slavery.

One can even argue that social Darwinism is an argument against any charity if one denies the existence of God. It says natural order favors the strong while Paul teaches us that human weakness when combined with our faith is our greatest strength. When we work with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit we can accomplish so much more then as humans alone.

Professor Tony Magana

Dr. Tony Magana is Professor Emeritus in Neurosurgery who spent many years doing international teaching and research including 10 years in Ethiopia. Over the past 15 years he concomitantly intensified his Christian faith through study and worship through the Episcopal Church. He grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Attended Texas A&M University, Harvard Medical School, and trained at the University of Miami. Additionally he took the University of South Education for Ministry as well as attending the Southeast Florida Episcopal Diocesan School for Christian Studies.
Professor Tony Magana, a seasoned neurosurgeon, has not only dedicated his life to medical practice but also embarked on a profound spiritual journey. Over the past 15 years, he has deepened his Christian faith through study and worship within the Episcopal Church. His experiences span international teaching, research, and a decade of service in Ethiopia
Dr. Tony Magana’s writings blend faith, compassion, and wisdom, inviting readers to explore the intersection of spirituality and the human experience. His journey serves as an inspiration for those seeking deeper connections with faith and humanity.

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