Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Do you ever wonder about the will of God? What he wants for you and your life? Where he wants you? What he wants you to do? What he doesn’t want you to do? Where should you go? How you should get there? When to start? When to stop?
If you’re like most people, you ask this all the time. You might not say the words out loud, but the idea bounces around inside your head like marbles that are being shaken in a tin box. Your mind is filled with lots of noise from all the questions and options that are jumping all around inside your brain.
I get asked this question all the time. Some are openly and honestly looking for direction. They really want to please God in all they do. But I’m afraid that if I’m honest, these people are few and far in-between. They definitely are the minority.
The majority of people asking about the will of God are looking for an answer that fits into their existing way of life. They’re looking for a thumbs-up for decisions they’ve already made. They want an approving pat-on-the-back for the way they live.
If you’re looking for the will of God, here is part of it. It’s right here in this short sentence. There are three parts in this instruction about God’s will for you and your life.
Opportunity – This starts when someone or something shows up right in front of you. The opportunity is just so obvious that it about hits you in the head. It almost stops you in your tracks. But opportunity doesn’t end there. Opportunity is also what you’re looking for. It comes in the form of things and people that you rub shoulders with. Where you spend your time. What you think is important enough to invest your time and money in. For example, you like to grow flowers and vegetables. Do you look at the people you buy seeds, plants, and even the fertilizer as an opportunity to be encouraging and thankful? And as your garden matures, what do you do with the blooms? The produce? Do you only look for ways to eat it, or are you looking to share it? Your interest in gardening will give you opportunities.
Do Good – There are lots of versions of good floating around our lives. And some of them are OK. But God’s kind of good looks, acts, and speaks like God himself. His good is consistent with who he is. It’s stable and reliable. It doesn’t change with the tide or tsunami of the times.And this doing good isn’t like a food truck that drives in, sets up for a few hours, and then goes home. Oh no. This kind of good sticks around. It’s not here today and gone tomorrow. And you don’t do this kind of good just once. It takes commitment. Yes, it’s good to help out a widow when her pipes start leaking at 1:47 AM. But what about taking in her trash cans every week? What about sending over a meal once in a while? What about stopping by just to see how she’s doing. Doing good is in it for the long haul.
All People – When we think about it, this really makes us wildly uncomfortable. Why? Because all means all. It’s inclusive and we hate that word. All excludes no one. Period. There is no excuse for not doing good to all people. Yes, it includes your friends, family, neighbors, those you know and love. But it also includes those you don’t like. Those you downright hate. Those who’ve hurt you and your family. Those who’ve thrown around vicious lies and hateful false reports. They’ve misquoted you. They’ve destroyed your reputation.
Some friends once asked me to help out in a soup kitchen. I decided to go because I like cooking and I’m skilled at it. I thought that I could make a meaningful contribution while helping my friends. It was fun and oh so much more. Yes, I enjoyed the cooking, the hard work, and being with the community of my friends.
But the unexpected joy and thrill came in meeting the people that came for food. More than seeing and smelling them, listening to them really touched something deep inside.
It made me think of my grandparents that immigrated as young teens. They came with the clothes on their backs and a slip of paper in their pocket with the name and address of someone they never met. It humbled and rewarded me in ways that’ll never leave me.
When does it say that living for Jesus was going to be easy? What’s the Bible reference that says our decisions are going to be simple and always turn out to bless us with wallets full of money, food on the table, and immediate defeat for all our enemies? I’m still looking for that verse.
God’s in the business of giving us opportunities. What are you going to do with the next one? And the one after that? And the one after that?