I think if I get the chance to write another book, I might want to write on Jonathan Edwards and doing good.
I have always thought of Edwards as kind of sit in his study and think all day long kind of person and I am sure he probably did alot of that, and I am glad; but I have been reading some of his sermons on doing good recently and I will tell you what, he is a radical.
Take this statement from a sermon on Matthew 12:7 (Jesus telling the Pharisees, “I desire compassion and not sacrifice..”) which Jonathan Edwards summarizes simply by saying: “Moral duties towards men are a more important and essential part of religion than external acts of worship of God.”
He’s talking about the way we show our respect to God. He’s not saying that moral duties towards men are more important than faith or love or fear of God. He’s saying that when it comes to external ways we show our faith and love and fear and respect for God, the way we treat other people is a more important and essential act of worship than even going to church and showing up at prayer meeting and singing on Sunday.
He’s obviously not downplaying the importance of those things, but highlighting the importance of the way we treat other people.
I would encourage you if you get the chance, read the sermon “Mercy not Sacrifice.” It is intense. It is just such a challenge to those of us who fall into the trap of thinking that we are really worshiping God the way that He wants because we are really good at going to church and going to prayer meeting when God makes it clear while all that is good and necessary it is even more important to worship him by loving the people around us and reaching out to others and doing good.