This five-word biography of Jesus, "He went about doing good," was part of the sermon of Peter in the house of Cornelius (Acts 10:38). This statement has deep meaning for followers of Christ.
Hoke Smith, an area representative of our Foreign Mission Board, recently said that the essence of missionary theory and practice could be reduced to a very concise formula: "To be like Jesus in attitudes, words, and deeds." This is not only the essence of missionary theory and practice, but it is also the essence of the Christian life.
If we are like Jesus, we will have a wayside ministry. He went about from place to place, and as He went He was helpful in His relation to suffering, sinning, seeking men and women. Jesus did not settle down in one spot and invite the people to come to Him. He went out where they were.
Our contemporary institutionalized concept of Christian work tends to localize and circumscribe our ministry for Him. We must move out of our church buildings and reach people where they are, or we will not reach the vast majority.
This does not mean that there will be no need for our buildings. We will still need them for worship and fellowship. But that worship and fellowship should be primarily preparatory. Also, we should seek to discover new approaches and techniques to transport some of that fellowship out where the people are.
Let us never forget that as Jesus went from place to place He ministered to the needs of the people.
What was the secret to the kind of life Jesus lived? Peter says that He went about doing good "for God was with him." Here was the source of His power. It was also the reason or the motive for the kind of life He lived.
At least His life was a natural expression of an inner desire. He could have used His miraculous power to perform miracles even more spectacular than most of those He performed. They would have been proof to the people that He was the Messiah, that He was the Son of God.
Why did He use His power so exclusively to relieve human needs? Approximately two-thirds of His recorded miracles were healing miracles. All others, with the possible exception of one or two, were miracles to relieve some human need. Why? He had a deep concern for people.
The more vital our relation is to Him, the deeper will be our desire to go about doing good. Also, the only source of the power that will enable us to have an effective wayside ministry is the power that comes from a vital relationship to Him.