14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[a] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Often times, a good work is mistaken for doing something beyond one’s everyday vocation. Volunteering at the local food pantry. Giving blood. Clothing the poor. Feeding the hungry. Don’t get me wrong. These are certainly wonderful and good works and those who do them are doing great things which are not to be downplayed at all. But a good work isn’t necessarily these great things nor is it some great act of heroism or what have you. A good work is also the mundane. The boring everyday stuff we take for granted. The things that no one bats an eye at and no one ever notices until that work stops. A good work is often simply doing your vocation.
The mother who changes dirty diapers is doing a good work. The trash man who drives by your home every week and takes away your garbage is doing a good work. The hairstylist who keeps her customer looking professional for his job is doing a good work. The cashier who sits behind a register ringing in peoples groceries is doing a good work.
These all seem so mundane and insignificant, but if anyone of them were to stop what they were doing, someone’s life would be more difficult. Maybe not a lot, but a little. These are all good works that benefit and help people, even if they don’t recognize it.
I think this excerpt from another blog sums it up quite nicely.
So what is a good work in God’s sight? Quite simply it is something that God has prepared in advance for us to do. It is something that we have done out of faith and love for the Lord our God. It is something that is pleasing to the Lord our God because it is something done according to his Word and his will.