As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to them who are of the household of faith.
Now let us consider —
1. The solemn exhortation or advice given here by the apostle, that is, "Let us do good." Notwithstanding all the sin and misery that are to be found in the world, yet the world would not be so bad after all, were it not for our own selves. That is, it is we, through our conceit, pride, and unfriendly behaviour to one another, that really constitute and render this world so unpleasant as it is! And if you admit the truth of this statement, then it is obvious that. it is the duty of all of us, as true Christians, to endeavour to reform ourselves in the first place, and then try to spread this reformation amongst others by our own good examples. There are some people to be found who will only do good at times, and upon some extraordinary occasions, and then only when they are really ashamed to withhold their hands.
2. The extent of this duty, "Unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith!" You may recollect that when Joseph made himself known unto his brethren in Egypt, and entertained them at a sumptuous dinner, that "Benjamin's mess was five times as much as any of the others;" and do you recollect the reason of that strange proceeding of his? I will tell you, Joseph and Benjamin were the only sons of Rachel by Jacob, their father, and so they were two brothers by the same father and the same mother, and therefore were more nearly allied to one another than all the rest. And we read that when Joseph first saw his brother Benjamin, "his bowels did yearn upon him, and he sought where to weep." And so I would have you, my brethren, to follow Joseph's good example, if ever you shall meet with any member of "the household of faith," "who in this transitory life is in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity"; then give him more readily and more abundantly than to any one else, for he is more nearly related to you by the Spirit, if not by the flesh, for he is a member of the same Catholic Church as yourself.
3. The time that we are to attend to this most important duty — "As we have an opportunity," or, "whilst we have the opportunity of this life and as occasions present themselves." No one offers a word of advice, nor an alms, nor a dose of physic, nor anything else to a dead man. Oh, no! for the time for these things and the like is gone by for ever with regard to him. And so I would have you to bear in mind that it is not after a poor fellow-creature has been left to starve to death with cold and hunger; that it is not after a long "hope deferred" had broken his tender heart in twain, and caused it to cease to beat for ever, that you are to take pity and compassion upon him. Oh, no! but you should do so now while you have him with you, while you can relieve him, and while he can appreciate your good attention, your sympathy and kindness. Some are in the habit of putting poor people off indefinitely when they ask assistance, though perhaps the favour they ask for will be hardly worth receiving, and so the time is lost when it can be of any value to the recipient. For my own part, if I do not get a favour when I beg for it and when I want it, I would not care for it, if the opportunity, or "the time of need" is gone.
(H. H. Davies, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.