As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to them who are of the household of faith.
I. THERE IS GOOD WHICH CHRISTIANS CAN DO. This is a common thing to notice, and you may think it is not likely to be overlooked. Perhaps not, as far as the eyes are concerned, but certainly liable to be overlooked so far as the heart and the hand are concerned. To do good (as we all should say if we were asked to define it), is to secure by our own efforts the welfare of others. The doing good to human nature, as it is made up of body and spirit, is required of us by our God, but beside this we are all required to do good to others in all the variety of condition in which they are found. Hence we have such particular directions as, to doing good to them that hate us, giving meat and drink and raiment to the poor, visiting the sick and the prisoner, the widow and the fatherless, holding forth the word of life, and distributing to the necessity of saints. What a wide and life-long service do these two words cover, "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good.
II. TO DO GOOD THERE MUST BE BOTH INTENTION AND EXERTION, AIM AND EFFORT. Benefits sometimes accrue to men from their fellow-men without any intention or effort on the part of those who are the channels of good; but being the channel of good or the occasion of doing good, and the willing and active agent, are widely different things. It is one thing to lose a piece of money, which is picked up by a beggar, and by which he supplies his wants, and another thing to give that beggar money for the purchase of food. The man is fed in both cases, but the ministering is only in the one case. It is one thing to utter words at random by which bystanders are instructed, and another thing to endeavour, as in the case of our devoted Sabbath school and ragged school teachers, steadily and perseveringly to impart instruction to the ignorant. The difference here is as broad and as clear and as palpable as that between the stone head of a fountain through which the water flows, and from which you drink, and the loving hand which brings you a cup of water that has been intentionally, thoughtfully, and sympathetically filled for you at that fountain. Doing good partially, if self-originated and self-willed, is easy; but to do good fully we must overcome much within ourselves. Then we must do it as servants — not when and as we like, but when and as the great Master bids us.. Moreover, real good is not done except by labour of some sort. In the sweat of the brow we not only eat bread, but we cast bread on the waters.
III. THE KIND OF GOOD DONE AND THE AMOUNT MUST BOTH BE GOVERNED BY WHAT PAUL HERE CALLS OPPORTUNITY." Circumstances being suitable for a particular ministration, we must minister; and circumstances fix the time and place, and the means, and the powers of the individual. They say to him, Thou art the man to do this thing here, and to do this thing now. "Opportunity" is that season in which we can minister to the benefit of others. Our opportunities test us. You will always see that a man is just what he is to his opportunities. You will find this in every walk of life. Opportunities test us Christians. Some opportunities are rare, ethers are common; some are fleeting, others abide. "The poor," said Jesus, "are always with you, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good;" here is the permanent, abiding opportunity. "But Me ye have not always;" here is the fleeting, passing opportunity. Doing good, dear brethren, if men be faithful to their trust, never can be monotonous.
Parallel VersesKJV: As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.