Prepared for Good Works
One of the things that God expects of His people is to do good. Of course doing good doesn't save you—nothing we do can accomplish salvation without God's power—but as one of the requirements for a Christian, one cannot be saved if he neglects to do good things for other people (James 2). Doing good, therefore, is very important if you want to be a follower of Christ! Paul told the Galatians:
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. (6:9, 10 KJV)
Here we see who we are to do good to: everyone! People we like, people we dislike, people who hate us, people who love us, rich, poor, righteous, sinner. No one is excluded here—God expects us to be cordial and helpful to anyone we may bump into, no matter who they may be. But don't forget that we are especially to do good to "them who are of the household of faith." In the Bible "household" also often means "family," as it does here. When we do our good works, our spiritual family, that is, our brothers and sisters in Christ, should be top priority. We must not get so caught up in helping those outside the faith that we neglect our own.
I would venture to say that most of us understand that we should do good, and have the will to do so. But the devil is always full of excuses for us to use, and one excuse that often stops a Christian from doing good is "I'm not ready." You might think "I would give that hungry hobo a sandwich if I had one" or "I would go visit that widow lady, but I'm bad at making conversation, and she's hard of hearing anyway!" Or perhaps it's just a lack of mental preparedness. If you're like me, I am far from spontaneous, and if an opportunity to do something that I had not considered beforehand suddenly appears, I just tell myself "I'm not ready for that; maybe next time" and move on.
Paul said to do good as we have opportunity. Opportunities are cropping up all the time; the key is to be prepared to take advantage of those opportunities. Prepare yourself mentally for giving that helping hand or encouraging word. Maybe get a few fast food gift cards to put in your wallet for the next time you see someone begging by the road. Block out time in your schedule to encourage and visit those who need it. If you're not as much of a conversationalist, sit down beforehand and write down some questions or things you can talk about when visiting. A bit of preparation before doing good goes a long way!
In closing, let's consider what Paul wrote to the Ephesians:
...for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them. (2:8-10 ASV)
God has prepared the good works for us. Are we prepared to do them?