Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:9-10 NIV
Sometimes conviction comes upon me slowly over time in a whisper. Other times it hits with all the subtlety of a sonic boom, and Galatians 6:10, figuratively speaking, just broke the sound barrier.
Do good. Got it. No problem.
Really God? Believers?
I’ve read through the entire Bible more than once so I’ve certainly read this multiple times, but this command has apparently managed to escape my notice to date.
Don’t mistake me for a great evangelist, because I’m far from it. I witness occasionally, but I have yet to experience the joy of leading someone (other than my children) to Christ. Yet, it is with unbelievers that my heart lies. It is to them that I try to direct any good works, hoping that perhaps God will use me to draw them to Him, hoping that they might yet escape the fate that otherwise awaits them.
When it comes to my church family, the focus is different. We worship together, we grow in the Lord together, we encourage and edify one another. Are they the targets of practical acts of good? Yes, but not often and not in any truly remarkable way.
Reading Galatians 6:10 this week immediately brought a recent event to mind. A gentleman in my church had a medical emergency that kept him from his job for a couple of months last fall. His job doesn’t come with the benefits some of us enjoy — no pay for sick days. His is the only income for his family, so they were in a genuine financial crisis. Word got around and many in our church family helped them as they were able. He eventually returned to work, and the help we provided was apparently sufficient to see them through.
Today’s reading also includes Exodus 31, in which God informs Moses of the skilled craftsman He had prepared to produce all the articles of worship He had commanded to be constructed. I may not have remembered Galatians 6 well, but I do remember what happens a few days from now in Exodus 36. The people gave so generously to the construction of the tabernacle and sanctuary that Moses actually made them stop giving.
I can’t help thinking that I (and my church family) struck out last fall. We helped this family through, and they issued a heart felt thanks for our efforts. During their crisis though, they never came to the congregation and said we’d given too much, that we should cease. I can’t help but think that such an announcement, and only such an announcement, would have indicated we had fully met the command to “do good to all people, ESPECIALLY to those who belong to the family of believers.”
Dear Lord, you’ve commanded that while we are to do good to all people, our finest acts should be bestowed upon our brothers and sisters in the faith. You command this “as we have the opportunity.” My neglect of your Word has allowed me to pass up such opportunities all too often. I pray that now that you have made me attentive to this command, that you’ll send more such opportunities, and that I will embrace them to your fullest satisfaction. Likewise, when I am in need, please pour out on me a spirit of humility so that I may allow my church family to keep this command by doing good to me. Finally, please continue to draw my attention too all the other commands I’ve neglected or have remained unaware of. You alone know what they are, but we both know the list is long. I pray this in deepest appreciation of your patient grace, Amen.