An opportunity is a combination of favorable circumstances or an appropriate time for accomplishing something. Biblically, it comes from a word meaning, “a due season,” or a “measure of time.”
One of the places where it is found in the New Testament is the letter of Paul to the Galatians. Paul wrote:
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us work that which is good toward all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10).
Doing good to all men, as we have opportunity, is dictated by the due season, or measure of time available for the performance of the duty. There may not always be a due season or a measure of time when we can fulfill the obligation to do good to all men. As we do have these opportunities, we must seize them before the season of time is gone, never to return. It has truly been said, “Who seeks, and will not take when once tis offered, shall never find it more.”
The duty is “doing good to all men.” It has been said this means preaching the gospel to the lost and teaching the church. Certainly, the greatest good we can do anyone is to preach the gospel of Christ to them so that they may be saved (1 Cor. 1:21). However, opportunities to preach can’t be a “wait for the right season” type of obligation. It is a constant duty because the opportunity is always there. The great commission requires taking the gospel “to every creature” (Mark 16:15) “in season and out of season” (2 Tim. 4:2)
The word good is a word that means, “what is salutary, suited to the course of human affairs.” (Thayer). In this course of human affairs, doing good is used of “rendering service.” So, if we substitute the definition and read the passage, it sounds like this:
“As we have opportunity, let us render service unto all men, and especially to them that are of the household of faith.”
Doing good to all men, and especially to Christians, may at times include preaching the word to them, but it cannot exclude an act of charity or benevolence. Doing good to all men and especially to other Christians is a joy to fulfill on the part of one who is “spiritual” (Gal. 6:1). It is the bearing of the burdens of another who is pressed down, either through sin or human suffering. The milk of human kindness in our hearts must flow in compassion and mercy to all we have opportunity to serve.
Opportunities, convenient or opportune times, are not forever with us. Often we must seek them—but rarely. When we have an opportunity to do good to others and we faithfully discharge our duty by seizing it then, we are blessed. The passing by on the other side of duty leaves one with remorse, a guilty conscience and a bad record with the Almighty. Failing to do what we know to do, when we have an opportunity to do it, carries very serious consequences.“To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (Jas. 4:17).
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