So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
When I wake in the morning I endeavour to give thanks to God for the life and breath to live another day, and for the opportunities that inevitably will come my way to glorify God and ‘do good’. Life is full of opportunities and this is one thing that strikes me regarding Paul’s exhortation to do good: he presumes we have opportunities. Our life is a gift from God, but what we do with our opportunities is our gift to Him. It is both a challenge and a relief that we are to “do good to everyone” “as we have opportunity”. A challenge for the implication is that not only will we have opportunity, but we should look for them and take advantage of them. It is also a relief for we are not charged with the weight of doing all good to all people, but to consider the opportunities we have.
Paul’s exhortation is a simple, yet comprehensive, summary statement of purpose for the Christian; we are to do good. Goodness is one of the fruits of walking in and with the Spirit of God as Paul has just told the Galatians (Gal. 5:22) and takes many forms. Here are just a few the bible speaks of:
(1) to the rich in this world Paul says: be “rich in good works” and minister to those in need (1 Tim. 6:17-18)
(2) feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, kindness to the stranger, care for the sick, visiting the prisoner (Matthew 25:34-36)
(3) loving your neighbour (Mark 12:31), and according to Jesus anyone you have opportunity to do good for is your neighbour (Luke 10:29-37).
The second part of Paul’s command may remind you of the adage “charity begins at home” when he adds, “especially to those who are of the household of faith.” As brutal as Roman society was in many ways, a cohesive, loving home was a virtue to which a good Roman citizen aspired. To the Christian, the local church was family (Matt 12:46-50), the location where one found true brothers and sisters. And so “bearing one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:20)” was a demonstration of a new kind of family and a new kind of love. No wonder then that ancient society said of Christians and the newly founded church, “my, how they love one another”.
Throughout this fall, with our emphasis on mission and outreach we have encouraged you in various ways to recognize, and grow in faithfulness, toward the opportunities you have to bare witness for Christ. Let today’s verse be a reminder that we are a witness in both word and deed. Would you look for a good deed waiting to happen today and “let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matt. 5:16)”?
Mission Action Plan: Seek to be a blessing in some way to two people today, one inside the church and one outside.
Mission Action Prayer: Lord, reveal to me the opportunities I have to “do good to everyone, especially those of the household of faith”, and grant me the strength and means to follow through.
As we gather for Sunday worship, we want you to meet with God and be transformed by the Word. Prepare your heart by reading the passage and listening to the songs for Sunday.