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©Douglas Beyer 2000

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growing in my INVOLVEMENT
Galatians 6:10

I laughed at the cartoon that showed the foreman of the jury addressing the judge and saying, "We have decided, Your Honor, not to get involved."

To grow with Christ is to grow in your involvement. Paul wrote to the Galatians, "As we have, therefore, opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10).

"Do-gooder" has become a bad word. It is a social disease spread by those who meddle uninvited in other people's business. But despite its bad image, take another look at the word. Do-gooders at their worst are certainly better company than do-baders. Doing good has been given a bad reputation by those who haven't given careful attention to their opportunities and priorities.

The Do-Gooder's Opportunity

"As we have, therefore, opportunity, let us do good." We are not responsible to do all the good that needs doing. The word, opportunity, comes from the Latin meaning "at the door." There are some good deeds which lie at your door, and some that lie at other doors. Paul, who wrote in Greek, used the word, Kairos, meaning the "right time." Doing the right thing at the wrong time causes more grief than good.

Bad muleA well-intentioned farmer received some large pills from the veterinarian for his sick mule. But despite his good intentions, he couldn't get the mule to swallow them. "That's easy," the vet reassured him. "Just get a piece of hose the same size as the pill. Run the hose down the mule's throat. Put the pill in the hose and blow."

The next day the farmer returned to the Vet looking terrible. "What happened?" asked the Vet.

"The mule blew first," said the farmer.

Be careful about trying to push your good deeds down somebody's throat. The timing has to be right. Doing good at the wrong time will surely cause trouble. "As we have, therefore, opportunity, let us do good."

If God writes "Opportunity" on one side the door, he writes "Responsibility" on the other side. Inventor Thomas Edison said, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.". While opportunity is knocking, they are out in the backyard seeking four-leafed clovers.

Great opportunities come to those who make the most of the small ones. Teresa of Avila said, "Many people neglect the task that lies at hand and are content with having wished the impossible."

"As we have, therefore, opportunity let us do good." Jesus has given us the keys of the kingdom with the promise that whatever we bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever we release on earth will be released in heaven (Matthew 16:19). I don't pretend to know all that that involves, but at least it means that we have the awesome opportunity and responsibility to change things in heaven and earth.

Opportunities always look bigger going than coming. There is an old legend of three horsemen crossing the dry river bed river bed late at night. Out of the darkness came a mysterious voice saying, "Stop. Dismount and pick up a handful of pebbles. Put them in your pockets." When they obeyed, the voice said, "You have done as I commanded. Tomorrow at sun-up you will be both glad and sad."

Mystified, the horsemen rode on. When the sun rose, they reached into their pockets and found that a miracle had happened. The pebbles had been transformed into diamonds, rubies, and other precious stones. Then they remembered the prophecy: they were both glad and sad—glad the had taken some and sad they had not taken more. At the end of time, when we review our opportunities, that same gladness and sadness will be ours. We’ll be glad we did a few good things and sad we didn’t do more.

  We walk this good, green earth but once.
  We have but one chance to live
  In a kindly way as we pass along.
  There is but one chance to give.
  There is only one chance to smile a smile,
  To hold out your hand to a brother,
  Such a very short time to work the art
  Of sharing with one another.
  Every day is a new chance to see
  The best that there is on life's way,
  And each setting sun brings the time to reflect
  "I've done what I could for today."
                 — Marie Gilchrist

Too many of us are waiting for God to do something for us rather than with us. We are like Charlie Brown who said, "I'd like to be able to feel that I'm needed."

Sally said, "Don't forget, Charlie Brown, that people who are really needed are asked to do a lot of different things."

Charlie ponders that and concludes, "Well, I'd like to feel needed and yet not have to do anything."

G. K. Chesterton said, "I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act."

Hockey player, Wayne Gretzky, said, "You miss 100% of the shots you never take."

In the year 109 A. D. Roman soldiers built an aqueduct in Segovia, Spain. For 1,800 years that aqueduct carried sparkling water from the mountains to the hot, dusty Segovians. Around the turn of the twentieth century, thoughtful Spaniards decided the aqueduct should be preserved for posterity and be relieved of its age-old labor. They diverted the water to modern pipelines. Shortly thereafter the aqueduct began to fall apart. The blazing sun dried out the mortar and made it crumble. Soon it lay in ruins. What ages of service could not destroy, idleness disintegrated. What happened to that ancient aqueduct can happen to us too.

  We were not made to be meant to be oceans
       In which God's blessing are stored.
  Instead we were meant to be channels
       Through which God's blessings are poured.

If we take "serve" out of service, all we have left is "ice." Many Christians need to be defrosted.

Biologists at Marine-land in San Diego conducted an experiment in which they chilled a porpoise until it was paralyzed. They put the helpless creature in a pool with other porpoises to see what would happen. The other porpoises lifted it by their flippers until it could breathe at the surface.

Are there people close to you who need a lift? "As we have, therefore, opportunity, let us do good."

  We shall do so much in the years to come,
  But what have we done today?
  We shall give out gold in a princely some,
       What what did we give today?
  We shall lift the heart and dry the tear,
  We shall plant a hope in place of fear,
  We shall speak with words of love and cheer,
       But what have we done today?   
                 (author unknown) 

The Do-Gooder's Priority

"As we have, therefore, opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."

The problem with doing good is that unless we get our priorities straight we are very apt to irritate others and frustrate ourselves. The switchboard of our lives is often jammed with calls vying for our attention, allegiance and commitment. All kinds of activities, from mowing the lawn to studying the Bible, compete for our energy. All manner of pleas, from the widow of the Unknown Soldier to the One Great Hour of Sharing, compete for a share of our income. It takes great concentration to discern the voice of God amid all this clatter.

The danger is in letting the urgent things crowd out the important. "Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). It isn't God that loads you down until you bend or break with an ulcer, nervous exhaustion, heart attack or stroke. These may come from inner compulsion coupled with the pressure of circumstances, but not from God. The Psalmist reminds us, "He knows what we are made of; he remembers that we are dust" (Psalm 103:14 TEV). He remembers it, but we tend to forget it. We may not be able to do everything we want to do, or that others want us to do, but we can do everything God wants us to do. But only if we get our priorities straight.

Top in our scale of priorities must be that which glorifies God. "As we have, therefore, opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." Your church is your family. Your have more in common with your brothers and sisters within the "household of faith" than with blood relatives. It is your highest privilege and responsibility to care for others who, like you, have been born again into the family of God.

Grow in your involvement by serving the family of God as your highest priority in every opportunity.

 

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