Running a Surplus

Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do.”


God created us to do good things, not bad. It’s how the human machine was made to work.  Good works are like the lubrication that makes us run well and feel good.  When we don’t keep the crankcase full, we start to feel the gears of our being grind…and that feels lousy.

He knows we need that lubrication on a regular basis. He also knows that our lubrication of doing good works doubles as a message to others that He is around and working through His creation to talk to them.

Guilt is God’s internal warning system that we are operating His creation outside of its designed parameters. The good feelings that go along with knowing we did the Right Thing, the thing God wanted us to do, tells us that we’re operating His creation as intended.

When you’re properly maintained, getting your spiritual oil changed so to speak, you run better. You’re faster, you feel better, you better “mileage.”  You can get that spiritual oil change wherever  you can find someone to do a good work for.

You might have read my post from last December 28, Elaborate Plans –

I did a good deed for a guy who was in desperate straits. I was the one who felt blessed, because God used me to help someone.  Let me expand that.  God, The Creator and Supreme Ruler of THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE used me, a sinner, dressed in the rags of misdeeds, to make a change in another man’s life.  I was the point man on a Special Ops mission from God!

Doesn’t that sound cool?!?  Li’l ol’ me with God’s night vision goggles to see through Satan’s fog of lies and confusion on earth, some hollow point ammo to put a nasty exit wound in the Devil’s plan to put my man, Terence, down, shot straight from the rifled barrel of a Cross-made 9mm Sabbath night special.  No silencer needed, ‘cause we WANT the ol’ boy to hear that round heading downrange to his nasty self just before he goes down…

Sorry. Go a little carried away there.  It happens.  But you see what I mean?  I spend my money and most of my day helping Terence along, and looked how juiced I get about it!  Like I said; running a surplus.

From my college teaching days, my greatest success was a thirty-something young lady, cute blond, and just a bit retiring. She did a good job in my class and earned an “A.”  She asked me if I was just humoring her with good grades.  Well, no.  I don’t really give out the grades; I just translate your work into a letter grade.  You gave it to yourself.

So after the term is over, I’m sitting in my office, and she walks in. With brown hair.  She thanked me, because in GRADE SCHOOL a teacher told her she was stupid, and that wounded her terribly.  Since then she had accepted that, eventually dying her hair blond and adopting the persona of “Dumb Blond.”  That was her self-image.  It wasn’t fun, but it was safe.  No expectations and flying under the radar.

Then she took my class, got validated, and suddenly realized it was all a lie.   A BIG, DAMMNED LIE!!!  She dyed her hair back to her natural color and started becoming the person God always intended her to be.  Do you see this?  That happened decades ago, and it still puts gas in my tank!  Running a surplus!

Now I’m a sort of pen pal with another blogger, BeautyBeyondBones (see Beauty and the (ED) Beast – ). Maybe that’s more like blog pals, but anyway…  She’s been blogging for a while and is really good.  Almost 9000 followers think so.  I’m not too bad myself…less than 100 think so (and I’m working on that, by the way).  She thanks me for my feedback, and very much appreciates my support.  Once again, we’re both running a surplus.

This isn’t is Joel Osteen’s false gospel of prosperity. This is not some automatic formula.  This is not about some cosmic ATM where you enter your good deed with your hand out.  We’re talking about genuinely trying to help others with no thought of self.  Focus on others and their needs with sincere concern, and you will find yourself running a surplus.  Emotionally, career-wise,… whatever way God sees you need blessing for being part of His Plan.

Am I rich? For America, no.  I’ve faced financial ruin, and I’m now doing OK.  Am I in my dream job?  No.  But I am in a good job with likely the best boss I’ve ever had.  In tough business conditions, I’ve survived 2 rounds of layoffs in 2015.  And why is that?  Because Boss looks out for me.  Why?  Because I’m a team playing; I help the rest of the team with their problems.  I help other people without selfish motives, and God gives me the blessings that He knows are right and good for me.  Richly!

Do you have needs, wants, satisfaction? Well, forget about it.  Look to help other with theirs.  Spend yourself on those folks, because Jesus spent Himself on you…and me.  And, just as Jesus was elevated and got more than He gave, you too will run a surplus!

5 thoughts on “Running a Surplus

  1. Well, Jerffery, if you don’t blow your own horn, who will? If you do that, you will lose your reward in heaven. Good works are like filthy rags to God. It is our duty to God to do good works. Faith without works is dead. Works righteousness makes us dead. It is not for us to boast how good we are. When we do good works God says we should be silent about it. Only God is good. It is God in us that is doing the good, not us. God is the provider of all good things. Our cup runs over. God gives us more than we need so that we can give back to Him and to others. God makes us rich in heavenly things by giving us faith. If we have faith we cannot say we are poor. Sorry, Jeffery, this blog left me cold. I don’t think God likes false humility either. Jeff, try to do better, please! I say this out of love. We all need to try to do better. I do like to read your blogs and the ability to express myself. Thanks!

    • Dave, you completely missed the point of the article. I’m not boasting, but providing examples of the premise introduced by the title; God wants good works and to reward them. We run a surplus in grace provided by God in doing His will. Even if isn’t necessarily the grace we might want. But it will be the grace God deems sufficient for us. I’m giving examples, proofs of the premise to encourage others to go out on that limb.

      It isn’t bragging to provide personal examples to support a point that is being made. Simply stating that God wants us to do good works and signing off doesn’t accomplish much.

      “If you do that, you will lose your reward in heaven.” I believe you are attempting to quote Matthew 6, but you have misquoted and severely misinterpreted that chapter.

      ““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. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men.” Matthew 6:1-2a.

      Note the qualifiers. This is about motivations, reasons for actions. “…to be seen by them… that they may have glory from men.”

      I know you are LCMS. LCMS – among others – teaches that scripture interprets scripture, so let me walk you through that process to further defend myself here.

      “ Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works;…” Titus 2:6-7a. So how do you show yourself as an example, if you lose your reward in heaven to show yourself as an example?

      It’s not against sharing your good works to motivate and encourage that is wrong. It’s sharing your good works for man’s glory instead of God’s that is condemned in what you misquoted.

      You opened with a snide, sarcastic remark that if I don’t blow my own horn… etc.

      You end, saying this entry left you cold The reason, apparently, is your judgment of me having false humility as if you know my heart as God does. You then try to excuse yourself by saying you are being loving. You appear hypocritical. I direct you to Acts 15:8: “So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us,…” Are you saying you know my heart as God does?

      You are welcome to read and make comments. I would hope you read scripture more carefully before offering misquoted, misinterpreted verses to judge others. You come very close to slander. I will not tolerate that in in future comments.

      • Jeff, you found me out. I am a sinner. I was sarcastic. Forgive me. It got your attention, I see. I am sure you know and interpret the bible better than I. I am learning and will be to the day I die. Happy is the man that is corrected. Thank you for correcting me. I am happy you did. I believe only an ordained Pastor can correctly interpret God’s word. I am not a pastor. You are on the Deans list. I am in the corner wearing the dunce hat. I haven’t arrived yet. I only expressed my feelings at your blog. It was a knee jerk reaction. I didn’t think about what you said thoroughly enough before I commented. I am not big at remembering bible verses so I have to paraphrase. I will research the proper interpretation of those verses. Everyone interprets the bible a little differently. That’s why we go to bible classes and hear the Pastor’s sermons. Please be tolerant with me. Love the sinner not the sin. You don’t need to defend yourself. God defends you. My comments were not meant to slander. I don’t know your heart. Only God and I know mine. You had a little knee jerk there too. I think you took my comments too personally. I am a big joker, to my shame. I like to hear your reply to my comments. That’s how I can learn. Correct me when you think I need it. I can take criticism. Yes, God’s surplus of grace to us spills over from us to our neighbor. We agree there! Hope we had a meeting of the minds. We should correct one another with gentleness and kindness. Excuse me.

      • Hey, no worries. You are very gracious. I was quite angry at first; my reputation and name are all I have. All anybody has. You should’ve seen the draft before I edited down! 🙂 I tried to keep it scriptural. After I hit “Send” I prayed there wasn’t some bit of rancor I missed editing out!!

        I’ll respectfully disagree with you on one point: I don’t believe that only ordained pastors can correctly interpret God’s Word. They are better equipped, having studied Greek and Hebrew, but that doesn’t require ordination. Either you or I could do as well with that language background. It just takes work and time.

        I would suggest to you this web site:

        I often find myself grasping for a verse. This web site has a search function not unlike a Thompson Chain reference. Just type a key word or two into the search field and see what it comes up with. Extremely useful! And I depend on it, especially with this blog. I don’t want to get something wrong and lead anyone astray.

        Again, you are very gracious in the face of correction. That says a ton about you – all good! Often the best relations come from a meeting like this! I look forward to reading more of your comments. In Christ, Jeff

  2. Pingback: Missionary Trip | Jeffrey H. King's Blog

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