One of the primary practices in Buddhism is doing good deeds to create a better karma—a better future life. On several occasions, as I walked down a sidewalk in Thailand, I was approached by a vendor with a cage full of pigeons. For a fee I could do my ‘good deed’ for the day by releasing one of the caged birds. The irony was these were homing pigeons. They appeared to be flying free, but they soon returned to the vendor to be sold again!
This example of empty works and striving for a better life prompts me to a couple of thoughts. How many lifetimes or good deeds would it take to be fit for Heaven? Setting pigeons ‘free’ provided a nice income to the vendor, but did little for the eternal destiny of the buyer. I ached to share with the Thai people that “...man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement...”. (Hebrews 9:27). God’s Word declares that eternal life is based on faith in Jesus, not on ‘works’ or ‘good deeds’. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith...not by works, so that no one can boast.”
In this story I can also see an application to the importance of God’s Word. Just as the pigeons returned to the same place every time they were released, we all need to keep coming back to God’s Word. For it is in God’s Word we find the way to perfect peace and life forever. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
I am a retired school teacher, and want to make Jesus known.