“For he who sows to this flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Gal. 6:8-10)
The Greek word for opportunity refers to a distinct, fixed time period, rather than occasional moments. Paul‘s point here is that the believer’s entire life provides the unique privilege by which he can serve others in Christ’s name. Our love for fellow Christians is the primary test of our love for God (John 13:34; Romans 12:10-13; 1 John 4:20-21—statements made by John McArthur).
Wow, What a thought! How we treat others shows how much we love God. In 1 John 4:20 we read, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” That makes me want to examine myself to see how much I am showing love to others. I can say all day long “I love God,” but when I read a verse like this one, I need to re-examine my love that I am demonstrating to others.
If we cannot forgive our neighbors, family, friends, or enemies (Luke 6:35-37), then we cannot say we love God. In Mathew 6:14-15; 18:21-35 clearly demonstrates that we cannot allow our selfishness to get in our way of forgiving others the wrongs that they have done to us. In Luke 6: 37c we understand, “Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
As we look deeper into the Word, we understand that many others in the Old and New Testaments had a choice to make in relation to doing God’s bidding or denying it. We all have a choice as to whether we will take God’s opportunity to obey God and help our fellow man. Let us look at several times when someone had the opportunity and what they did with it:
1) Esther is a good example of someone whom God had strategically placed ahead of time in the palace of King Ahasuerus “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). She had favor with God, the king, and everyone who saw her (Esther 2:15; 5:2; cf. Prov. 21:1). Through her obedience to Mordecai, she risked her life for the life of her people. She took a grave chance of appearing before the king when she had not been summoned. He gave her favor and listened to her request. Not only was she spared from death, but also all of the Jews living there. The Feast of Purim is a celebration of what Esther did in those days to save her people. It is still celebrated today among the Jews.
Not only did she have favor with all, but she dared to help her fellow Jew. If she had denied this opportunity and said “No!” to God, God would have found another to do His will. But she obeyed her adopted father (possibly her uncle) and God used her to save all of His people.
2) Rahab had an opportunity to save her entire household from the destruction that was to come to Jericho as the children of Israel were to cross the Jordan River and enter their promise land. She had heard of what God had already done at the Red Sea and for the Israelites leaving Egypt. Also, when the Israelite spies came to Jericho and knocked on her door, she could have turned them into the king, but she chose to hide them and later helped them escape. After she told the king that they had left, she went to the roof where they were hiding. She helped them scale the wall under the cover of night by using the scarlet cord to lower them outside of the wall. She realized that the Lord had already given them the land and the people of Jericho were faint-hearted because of the Israelites (Joshua 2:1-10).
Rahab had already heard that their God is the Lord God in heaven above and on earth beneath. She made them swear by the Lord that because of her kindness to them, they would save her and all of her household when they came back to take the land. The men told her that if she would not tell any of this to her king or her people, they would deal kindly and truly to her (Joshua 2:11-14).
Before letting the men down the wall of the city, she instructed them to go to the mountains and wait there until the pursuers went back home. They made it clear to her that she needed to hang the scarlet cord from her window when they came back to take the city. Her entire family were to be in her house at that time (Joshua 2:15-24).
Because of her decision to know their God and help them, God gave her favor by making her the great, great, etc. grandmother of His Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5).
3) Ruth was another who made a wise decision to go with her mother-in-law (Naomi) instead of staying in her home country with her family. Even though her husband had died, she chose to help her mother-in-law. She was very faithful to her (Ruth 1:16-18, 22).
As the story continues to unfold, Naomi and Ruth go back to Israel. It was customary in Israel that if a husband had died, another near relative of the same family should marry her and raise children for the deceased male. This was called a kinsman-redeemer (Ruth 3-4). Ruth does exactly what Naomi says and Boaz took her to wife. She, too, became another grandmother of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:5).
As our verse in Galatians 6:10 says “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” God instructs us in Proverbs 3: 27 “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.” Given any opportunity, we need to help others especially God’s children.
I love this verse. It speaks to me of how we need to think of others. In Romans 12:9-18 God gives us a list of things to do toward others:
1) Love one another without hypocrisy;
2) Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love…fervent in spirit.
3) Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
4) Distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality;
5) Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse;
6) Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep;
7) Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion;
8) Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
9) If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men;
10) Beloved, do not avenge yourselves…”
I love the way these verses end, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink…” In other words, do good to all men, especially if they are of the household of faith. God means for us to help all people but pay particular attention to God’s children. Take every opportunity to do good to all. (v. 20)