Summary: 6 months into the deployment to Iraq. This is the first sermon in a series on dealing with some of the issues that soldiers face.

Opportunity Awaits

Galatians 6:10

In speaking of the New Year, Columnist Ellen Goodman writes;

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives, not looking for flaws, but for potential. 1

Many times we look at our lives in Iraq, in much the same way—looking for flaws.

We are separated from family and friends and all we are able to see is the hurt of being away. We see the living conditions and all we are able to see is the terrible inconvenience of it all. We see the phone banks and all that we see in the line.

Sometimes, we simply look at life here for what it is not.

The gym is not what we had at Fort Campbell. The food is not what Mama used to make. AFN is not like Charter Cable. The shopping is not even the same.

We can look at all these things and look at the flaws, or we can find balance and look at the potential that we have here.

This evening, we are looking at Galatians 6:10 which is found on page 1037 in the red Bible under your seat.

In Galatians 6:10, Paul tells the Galatians to

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. 2 (Gal. 6:10, NKJV)

Paul is putting his closing thoughts on a letter of great importance, so great that he writes in his own hand. The people in these churches are being weighed down by a great controversy. On one hand, there are those who believed that all Christians must obey the Jewish law in order to be saved. On the other hand, there are people, like Paul that believes in the freedom granted through faith in Christ and the salvation is achieved by faith alone.

Near the end of his letter, Paul makes the point, that in our freedom in Christ, we take every opportunity to do good.

We have the potential here at Speicher to do good in many ways. We must continually open our eyes to the opportunities that God provides for us.

Much of our work here in Iraq is outward focused, because that is our mission; “to give the Iraqi people a free and democratic society, free from terrorism.” While we go outside the wire or support those that do, we seem to forget that there are plenty of good things that can be done right here inside the wire.

“Therefore, as we have the opportunity,” we are to do good. We do good because God is good.

In Mark 10:18, Jesus says, “No one is good but one, that is God.” (NKJV, MK 10:18)

The good that we do in this world reflects back on Him and our relationship to him.

One of the things I am anticipating during my Midtour is pizza.

I told my wife, Monica, “On the day you pick me up, I don’t want you to worry about getting a good dinner for me. All that you need to do is order one large, hand tossed, supreme pizza from Pizza Hut.

I love good pizza.

Pizza is interesting. The cook can be very good, skilled and trained in the finest schools, and whether or not the ingredients are good or bad, the cook is still responsible. It is the cooks’ responsibility to choose the right ingredients. It is the cooks’ responsibility to make it good.

We serve a good God. We are the ingredients in this great big pizza called earth. He chooses us to do His work in the world. He chooses the best ingredients for each situation.

He knows our flavor. He knows our texture. He knows what works and what doesn’t. He chose us to do His work.

As the ingredients of the pizza reflect on the master cook, we reflect God, when we do good.

“Therefore, as we have the opportunity,” we are first to do good to all.

Often, when I am in the office studying, I will have a visitor come by who had just come to the chapel to praying about a troubling issue. It could be the lowest of privates or the highest of officers. They are all people. They each have there own problems that life has thrown at them.

The Bible says;

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (NKJV, Mt. 5:16)

We need to be light in a dark world. We, who have the hope and the freedom of Christ, must take every opportunity to be light for those that are around us. Within us, we have a peace that surpasses all understanding, a peace that is so needed in the world today. And you can bring that peace to those around you.

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