What exactly is a Work? How small can one be?


What is a work exactly? If I someone helps a little lady cross the street is that considered a work? Are there different degrees of works?



Works are simply outward reflections of inward faith. Saying a prayer, practicing Christian principles (honesty, patience, kindness) are all works. Works can be as grand as defending God unto your death (martyrdom) or donating money to a charitable cause. Somewhere in between is your helping an old lady cross the street example. Works don’t even necessarily have to be outwardly noticeable in the sense we think of… Do we see people praying for someone or do we always recognize someone setting a good example? Perhaps a better definition would be faith in action… although that leaves a little to be desired as a definition.


“Loving one another, as He has loved us”…


Works include, but are not limited to

Corporal works of mercy:
Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Visit the imprisoned
Shelter the homeless
Visit the sick
Bury the dead

Spiritual works of mercy:
Admonish sinner
Instruct the ignorant
Counsel the doubtful
Comfort the sorrowful
Bear wrongs patiently
Forgive all injuries
Pray for the living and the dead

That should be enough to keep you busy. :slight_smile:


A work that is meritorius and pleasing to God is one done that is morally good, and done with true geniune love for God. And the littlest deed done IS a work that pleases God; even helping a little lady cross the street is a good deed done if it is done for the love of God. Paul speaks of true love in 1 Cor 13.
God created us for good works, so that we should walk in them, (Eph 2:10).
Mt 25:34-40 speaks of those who do the corporal works of mercy without seeking glory for themselves; this is true love.


Works from the heart > Works for a reward


Consider the case of a person with only the bare essentials of mental, perceptual and motor faculties, from an accident at birth, let’s say.

Could a “work” of theirs be simply the hope that others have at least the “wonders” that they experience from life which they do?

I would say yes. They want to share what they know is good. Those are works which God loves.

Mahalo ke Akua…!
E pili mau na pomaikai iaoe. Aloha nui.


Helping an old lady across the street is very obviously a good work. It’s a fairly trivial one, but it tends to have big effects in terms of the muggings and careless driving (cost lives) which it might suppress.


thank you for the responses!


Read Matthew 25:31-46, for more ideas about this.


One time, not so long ago, I was vacationing in Washington D.C. with my son. We were descending into the subway station and there was a woman asking for money. The people were just walking by her. I listened to what she was asking for and realized that it was 35 cents in order to buy a pass for the train.

I gave her a dollar and told her to keep the change.

Make someone’s day!



Read St. Therese of Lisieux’s autobiography. Anything you do, no matter how small, out of love for God is one.



Someone once told me our ‘works’ are our life. Everything we do with our life, every action and thought we have is essentially a ‘work’. God wants all our works (our entire life) to be for His glory, through our love for Him and others, by the grace of the Holy Spirit and our cooperation with that grace.


I believe that a smile and a kind word when it is needed can be a huge “work”. It can lift the spirit of a person who is down-trodden.


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