As We Have Opportunity – Revisited

helping others

This post goes back to 2018, when Bill Sweeney was still with us. Bill has since gone to be with the Lord, but the truths spoken of within this post are still valid. And then there is Mary Sweeney, who is a shining example of one who possesses the attitude of servanthood and walking in God’s grace, within herself. Both Bill and Mary are shining examples of what God can and does accomplish in His willing servants. Please remember Mary in your prayers, if you would.

And of course, 2018 was before Covid 19. Amazing what can transpire in the space of three years. In keeping with what has transpired, I have added, what I would put forward, are some appropriate updates.

Galatians 6:10NIV  “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Yesterday I had an opportunity to see how Bill and Mary Sweeney’s GoFundMe campaign was doing and I was delighted. I work part time and they changed my shifts so I’ve been off line a bit more as of late. The following scripture verse came to mind as I was pondering the loving kindness that has been extended to our brother and sister, Bill and Mary.

Mark 10:17-18 NIV  “As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.”

Of all people, Jesus, actually deflected the complement of being good, from Himself, to His Father and our Father. And it wasn’t that Jesus wasn’t good or without sin, because we know that He was and is, but our heavenly Father is indeed the source of all goodness. It was our Father’s intent to send His Son, the Messiah. It was our Father’s intent to make a way back for us, to Himself possible. It was our Father’s intent to restore and make one again, that which had been broken, by allowing us to choose, life in Him over death, with the free will He has given us. For as God’s Holy Word tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 NASB: “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.”

We all see acts of kindness being extended to others every day, in a thousand different ways, via a kind word, a helping hand or the quiet service provided to others, extended via assisting others, not because we’re paid to do it, but just because we can. This attitude used to be a much more prevalent part of our culture, it used to be much more visible that it is today. But, it is still there, in spite of all the terrible insensitivity often displayed towards others that we sometimes see, in spite of the negativity of imagined superiority, in spite of our sometimes condescending insulations, in spite of our shortsightedness to our frailty and incompleteness and in spite of the double standard that we often hold, towards others and apply to ourselves.

Can you imagine living in a world without God’s goodness? Can we even begin to understand what a place this world would be, without the counterbalance to evil? So often we focus on that which we see that is not good, because the enemy wants us to be discouraged, disheartened, to lose hope, to forget who is really in charge. And yet, God still allows the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. The sun still continues to rise every morning, food still continues to grow, oxygen is still available in the air that we breath. He is patient, long suffering, waiting for us to turn back to Him. His patience is not infinite, it does not extend forever, the remaining time is getting shorter.

A lot of us recognize exceptional faith and courage when we see it. Enter Bill and Mary. The walk they have been called to walk leaves most of us in the dust. Both Bill and Mary have consistently displayed, over a considerable number of years, trust and faith in our God and He has blessed them and He has blessed us, through them. Oh, I know, there are many others who walk difficult paths, all of us have our own stories to tell, but on a scale of 1 to 10, all things considered, most of us don’t register all that high. And too often we ignore or don’t address deficiencies that we can and could do something about, to our shame and to our own discredit. And, most importantly, we are all called to honestly consider the welfare of others, over ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4).

In Romans 14:13-23, Paul urges the strong not to become a stumbling block to the weak by exercising liberties which might cause the weak to stumble. If we are walking in love, the strong will gladly surrender the exercise of our liberties for the good of the weak. The benefits which our liberties offer are so small, and the blessings for limiting our liberties are so great, that this should not be an agonizing decision.

Christian love is not just negative. It requires much more than the giving up on unnecessary judging and certain liberties. On the one hand, “love does no wrong to a neighbour” (Romans 13:10). But this is not nearly enough, and so love not only “abhors what is evil,” it clings “to what is good” (Romans 12:9). Love refuses to do that which is harmful to others, and it aggressively seeks to do “good” and “what is right in the sight of all men” (see Romans 12:9-21).

In Romans 14, Paul’s emphasis is negative. He urges us not to be overly critical of one another regarding our differences in convictions (verses 1-12). He also exhorts strong believers not to offend a weaker brother, by exercising any liberty which might cause him to stumble, by doing likewise, against his convictions (verses 13-23).

Is this a higher calling on doing good? Yes it is and it is to our own collective detriment, when we actively choose to ignore it.

But during the last few days, as it applies to meeting some of the needs of Bill and Mary, the body of Christ has responded, the good that emulates from the Father has shined, in our hearts towards them and in their hearts towards us and it is good. And I am thankful for the goodness of the Father, from whom all blessings flow.

Praise be to our Father, to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. We are truly blessed because of Him.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!


  1. Dear Bruce, Thank you for this wonderful post – a reminder of God’s goodness! Reading this took me back to that November day when I was laid off from my job. The memories of how God used so many to rally behind us. I’m still humbled by everyone’s generosity, and so grateful for those two years I had with Bill without having to juggle a full-time job. God is so good! Thanks for this reminder, I needed it today. Blessings to you and Peggy.

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