II. SEEKING THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO GOOD
Not only do we need to seek the opportunity to love the Lord, we should also seek the opportunity to do good. Brothers and sisters, what do you think to do good means? What is the best kindness and goodness? I think it is said best in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. There is one English version which translates these few verses in a particular way with particular significance. Today let me read this translation to you:
"Love is very patient, very kind. Love knows no jealousy; love makes no parade, gives itself no airs, is never rude, never selfish, never irritated, never resentful; love is never glad when others go wrong, love is gladdened by goodness, always slow to expose, always eager to believe the best, always hopeful, always patient" (from The New Testament, a new translation by James Moffatt).
This is a very meaningful passage. It is our weakness to rejoice when others go wrong, but love will never be glad. "Covers" in "covers all things" is the same word as "roof" in Mark 2:4 in the original text. To cover means not to remove other people’s roofs. To remove the roof is to uncover other people’s affairs. Love is not like this. Love always hopes for others’ good. Love always has trust in the good aspects of others. It is our weakness to think that others are not as good. How did Paul commend Philemon? "Hearing of your love and the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and to all the saints" (Philem. 5). Philemon not only had faith in the Lord; he also had faith in all the saints. This is what we need. We should earnestly believe in the goodness of others.
We have read Galatians 6:10. This verse tells us that as we have opportunity, let us do good. What God requires of us today is that we do good while there is the opportunity. In regard to doing good, I have to mention a few points.
First, I need to talk about forgiving others. We should realize that God gives us opportunities to forgive others. These opportunities to forgive others will pass away. Perhaps in the twinkling of an eye you will die or he will die. Brothers and sisters, I do not know if anyone among us today is unwilling to forgive others. If there are some, please forgive now. If you wait until later, the opportunity may be gone.
There was a Western couple who once quarreled at home. Later on the husband, seeing that it was time to go to work, held his wife’s hand before he left, said good-bye to her, kissed her, and asked her for forgiveness. His wife ignored him and was unwilling to forgive him. At noon the police suddenly brought her husband home; he was already dead, covered with blood. When his wife saw this, she said, "O God! If I had known that he would come back like this, surely I would not have let him leave the way he did! Oh, the opportunity is gone!" Brothers and sisters, once you realize that opportunities will pass by, can you afford not to find the opportunity to forgive others?
Second, we should do our best to love others. There was a wife who had died. Her husband carefully put a bunch of flowers into her hand. A little child, leaning against the wall, said coldly, "This is the first time he gave flowers to her." Oh, if you give someone flowers when he is dead, why do you not give him flowers while he is still alive? I have seen many people neglected when they were alive, but when they died people sent them flowers! We should do good when there is still the opportunity. Many people are waiting for us to do good to them. One poem says:
I beg thee tonight,
Withhold not thy kisses
From my chilly forehead.
How lonely is the pathway!
Let me feel thy closeness now.
May you think warmly of me!
Traveling over land and sea,
My strength is withdrawn from me;
My trembling feet,
Full of scars of thorns.
Forgive me! O cold heart!
In that future dreamless rest,
Will I still need the love which
I long for tonight?
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 17: Notes on Scriptural Messages (1), Chapter 9, by Watchman Nee)