Zell Kravinsky. Karen Pittleman. Richard Semmler. My guess is you’ve never heard of these three people. Right?
Let me tell you what they’ve done.
Kravinsky became wealthy in the real estate business, and then gave away almost all of his fortune — $45 million — to charity. “A lot of people seem to feel I’m crazy,” Kravinsky commented.
Karen Pittleman created the Chahara Foundation to help low-income women and girls with her $3 million trust fund. She told 20/20 “I didn’t need that much.” So, she gave away much of her inheritance to help the disenfranchised, especially women.
For three decades Richard Semmler, a college professor, has been donating over half of his annual salary to support his favorite charities. So far he has given about $770,000. “And it may be close to $800,000 by the end of this year,” His goal is to give away $1 million in his lifetime.
While most of us may not have millions to give away, we can follow the exhortation of one of the great verses of the Bible, Galatians 6:10. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
Consider four important points we learn from this verse.
(1) Do good. Godly people should desire to be good and to do good. Jesus is our example. Luke says that Jesus “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). The Psalmist wrote, “Trust in the Lord and do good” (Ps 37:3). And Paul exhorted, “Pursue what is good.”
2) Be opportunity oriented. Doing good requires the opportunity to do good. However, opportunities are not always obvious, especially if we are self-absorbed. We must be focused on doing good in order to take advantage of opportunities. Three things will help us make the most of our opportunities.
◆We Need to Seek Opportunity. Jesus said “seek and you shall find.” What are we seeking? Some seek easy. Wealth. Prestige. Or acceptance. We attract what we think about. What we are looking for? What we are trying to obtain? Are you seeking opportunities to do good?
◆ We Need to See Opportunity. J Oswald Sanders put it this way, “Eyes that look are common, eyes that see are rare.” If we are to be successful spiritually, we need to open our eyes. Really see. Visualize the opportunities around us to do good. What opportunities do you see?
◆We Need to Seize the Opportunity. It’s not enough to seek opportunity or even to see it, we must seize it. Jonathan Winters said, “I couldn’t wait for success, so I went ahead without it” How often have we had an opportunity just slip through our fingers? Knowing and realizing are not enough. We are called upon to act. To follow through. To do something.
(3) Do good to all people. The second great commandment is “to love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:39). Christians are to be the light of the world, and the salt of the earth (Matt 5:13-16). One way to shine our light and be a preserving influence in the world is by getting involved in our communities. There are many ways. Contributions to worthy charities. Volunteering to help non-profit organizations. Participating through service clubs like Rotary. And individually helping others as we see their need.
(4) Do good in your Church-Family. The text says, “especially to those who belong to the Family of Believers.” Christians belong to the same spiritual family. We share the same fellowship. Have the same Father. And serve the same Lord. Christians care about one another. Feel one another’s pain. And freely share their blessings to help a brother in need.
Our challenge can be summed up in the motto of the 18th century missionary Stephen Grellett: “I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow-creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman