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Life – Our Season for Doing Good

Category Articles
Date February 5, 2014

The Apostle Paul winds up one of the closing sections of his letter to the Galatians with the following exhortation: ‘as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith’ (Gal. 6:10). Our particular interest lies with this ‘opportunity’ of which he speaks at the outset.

It is possible that what he means is, ‘as the opportunity presents itself’. Every day brings some opportunity to do good to others and as those opportunities come we ought to grasp them. It is interesting to note, however, that the Greek word translated opportunity may also be rendered time or season. Taken that way, the apostle is giving us an important perspective on life as a whole. It is the time of our opportunity, our season for doing good.

We may think in this connection of Jesus’ words in John 17. He is speaking to his Father in heaven about his disciples and says, ‘My prayer is not that you take them out of the world’. Why would he not pray that? Why not take us from earth to heaven the moment we are born again? A big part of the reason is that he has work for us to do. Later on in his John 17 prayer he says, ‘As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world’. And here is why. In the language of the Apostle Paul, in order to ‘do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith’. We are to think of our life on earth as our season for doing good.

Here is an excerpt from a letter of Robert Murray M’Cheyne. He has been talking about the undeniable attractiveness of resting but goes on to say,

it is only said of the dead in the Lord that they rest from their labours; and I fear I must not think of resting till then. Time is short, my time especially, and sinners are precious; and I fear many are slumbering because I watch not with sufficient diligence, nor blow the trumpet with sufficient clearness. (Memoir & Remains1, p. 283.)

His holy anxiety was to labour for the Lord and do as much good as he could while his short season for doing so lasted.

This is not to say, of course, that vacations are wrong, that recreation is wrong, that we should allow ourselves no leisure time but instead be always busy doing good to others. That would be to take things to an unhealthy and unwarranted extreme. In a society, however, that is addicted to pleasure; when so many live for playing; when the big thing in life is to enjoy yourself and have fun; when that’s what people work for and look forward to retirement for, it’s a very necessary word. Time is short. Our season for doing good will shortly be over. We need to make the best of it while we have it. It’s what life is for – doing good to others.

And what a great incentive Paul gives us! Check out verse 9 of Galatians 6 and you will see it. We have the promise of a harvest. ‘In due season we will reap if we do not give up’. Good will certainly be done by us. Good will be received by us as well. In this life. And in the life to come. It’s a promise! As Paul assures us elsewhere, our labour in the Lord ‘is not in vain’ (1 Cor. 15:58).

Notes

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      The Apostle Paul winds up one of the closing sections of his letter to the Galatians with the following exhortation: ‘as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith’ (Gal. 6:10). Our particular interest lies with this ‘opportunity’ of which he speaks at […]

David Campbell is pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

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