Doing Good to All
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (v. 10)
- Galatians 6:9–10
The apostle clearly has more than finances in mind when he contrasts the flesh’s harvest with that of the Spirit (Gal. 6:8). The unrepentant practice of fleshly works (5:19–21) is another way to reap corruption. Also, besides our budgeting, we can sow to the Spirit in helping to restore sinners and in bearing the loads of others (6:1–2). Loving others in these ways leads us to become further assured of an eternal, resurrected life (v. 8; 2 Peter 1:3–11).
The beginning of the Christian life is often marked by eager love of God and neighbor. Later we can grow weary in doing good (Gal. 6:9). The long wait from seed time to harvest can discourage us, and we can grow disenchanted with our spiritual progress. In our dissatisfaction we can try to speed up the harvest, attempting to get holy faster by imposing extra rules upon ourselves and others, taking pride in our more “rigorous” discipleship. Or, we can give up and live apart from any standard of goodness. These tendencies toward legalism and libertarianism were present in Galatia, and Paul says the answer to the despair that yields these errors is patience (6:9). There is a “due season” — a God-appointed time — coming in which all of our work in our sanctification will be vindicated. This proper time is our Savior’s return (1 Tim. 6:13–16), when His holy people will inherit all that has been prepared for them (Matt. 25:31–46).
Just as a seed must be planted in the right month to guarantee a fall harvest, so too must we sow to the Spirit in the proper season to reap the rewards of holiness. Broadly speaking, the entire period from our conversion to our death is the right time for sowing. More narrowly, there will be unique opportunities the Lord’s hand of providence brings our way to love our neighbors and sow to the Spirit. When circumstances converge to create needs that we are able to meet, we must take them, for we do not know whether we will die before we have another chance to serve our Creator and His people on this earth (Gal. 6:10). Matthew Henry comments, “Whenever God gives us an opportunity of being useful to others, he expects that we should take it, according to our ability."
The recipients of our good deeds are not to be limited to any one group, but we do have a responsibility to take care of our brothers and sisters in the Lord first. John Calvin writes, “There are duties which we owe to all men arising out of a common nature; but the tie of a more sacred relationship, established by God himself, binds us to believers.” How have you sown to the Spirit this week through service to another believer?
Passages for Further Study
- Deut. 24:19–22
- Ruth 2:1–16
- Luke 10:25–37
- James 5:7–11
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