I have often wondered. After performing what I perceived to be a good deed, did I, in fact, just perform a genuine Work of Mercy or not? What does a “Genuine Work of Mercy” look like? How would I know if I just completed one?
There is an error of words when one talks of “doing” or “performing” a Work of Mercy. One does not “do” a Work. One shares or participates in a Work of Mercy. A true Work of Mercy has a two-way relationship. There is the initiator and the receiver.
In my book, “I Have Come To Set The Earth On Fire”, it mentions how discipleship was a two way street as these people came to our aid after the fire to shared their act of mercy with us. Discipleship, in itself, is a Work of Mercy. In this encounter, it demonstrates the two steps of Mercy. First, the mercy act is initiated. Second, the act of mercy has to be accepted in some way, some degree by the recipient. It is in these two acts that God’s grace is shared and metered out between and to the giver and the receiver.
So, how will I know if an act done was a “genuine” Work of Mercy? If the giver feels peace and joy afterwards, the peace and joy from the gift of God’s grace given, then one can be certain the work was a true and genuine Work of Mercy.
So, what happens if one does not get that “wow” feeling in return. There can be two possibilities: First, possibly the receiver failed to accept one’s gesture of a genuine gift of mercy. Even though this is a rare occurrence, it brings up the responsibility, if one is the recipient of a Work of Mercy, to genuinely accept it. Acceptance is the only way the full grace effect can be given and shared. “If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you.” Without an acceptance, the opportunity for grace is lost. Secondly, maybe the gift gesture was, in fact, not genuine. Maybe there were strings attached, such as expecting to get some rousing acceptance “thank you” speech from the recipient or expecting the receiver to reciprocate in some manner. How many times has one said, “The least thing he/she should have done was at least thanked me for what I did.” To that, Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.”
Now, when I say recipient’s denial of a gift of mercy is extremely rare, God knows the heart of the recipient. Even though the recipient’s body or verbal language points to a denial, God knows if a seed has been planted for future growth. Therefore, even if a person looks to have denied your genuine Work of Mercy gesture, the giver would still gain the peace and joy from God because one did God’s bidding, just what the giver was supposed to do.
God calls us to provide little and big acts of mercy daily. One should not so much as aspire to perform acts of mercy, rather build a virtue enabling one to hear and act on God’s specific calls as part of His Will being done. So, keep that Good Works of Mercy periscope up – watching and feeling for God calling you to be His true disciple. Be ready to step outside your box of comfort and provide that Work of Mercy to that child of God in need. Amen.
 Matthew 10:13
 Matthew 6:2