Making the Most of Opportunities

I’d like to share two thoughts based on Ephesians 5:8-10; 15-16 about the opportunities we have for furthering God’s Kingdom on earth.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. … 15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 
The first thought is we should deliberately look for the opportunities God offers us for furthering His Kingdom.

The Christian life is a series of opportunities for advancing God’s Kingdom. As children of light, we should bear the fruit of the light: goodness, righteousness, and truth. So, with each opportunity to bring about goodness, righteousness, and truth, we have an opportunity to advance the Kingdom of God.

But sometimes we miss those opportunities because we’re not looking for them. We pass by a ripe piece of fruit, ready for picking, and don’t even notice it. We need to be intentionally on the lookout for the opportunities He brings us. We should go through each day looking for opportunities to do something good, to practice righteousness, and to speak the truth. We need to be “opportunity seekers.”

Once Betsy and I went to the vet’s office to get some special cat food. Betsy drove. We left the house at 10:00am, completed the errand by10:20am, and arrived home at—2:00pm! Did I mention Betsy was driving? On the way home, we stopped at five garage sales at least. You see, on the way to the office, Betsy intentionally had been looking for signs that said: “Garage Sale This Way,” “Tag Sale on Godwin Avenue.” To her, those signs meant OPPORTUNITY—to buy some lost treasure, some piece of ancient furniture.

Similarly, we need to be intentional about looking for opportunities for goodness, rightness, and truth.   

What’s coming my way as I “drive” through the day? An opportunity to help someone out, give something to someone, share something with someone? An opportunity to say a kind word, be nice to a brother or sister, praise someone for a job well done, hold my tongue when anger flares up, refrain from insulting someone? Who knows the opportunities we will find if we only look for them.

The second thought about opportunities is we must “make the most” of them. The Greek word Paul uses here means to buy something up completely, pay the full price, take complete ownership. When we see opportunities for goodness, righteousness, and truth, we should make them our own, take possession of them, i.e., bring them to full completion.

Remember the story of the rich young ruler? He had the opportunity to become a disciple of Jesus. He was on the verge of it; the opportunity was staring him in the face. He had only one thing to do: Jesus said, “Sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor…and come, follow me.” Remember what happened: “When he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.” Opportunities have a purchase price.

It costs something to “buy up” an opportunity. There’s always some sacrifice, some effort that must be made. We might have to step out of our comfort zones. It may not be easy to help someone when it’s not on your agenda; or to be kind when you don’t feel like being kind; or not to complain when you feel like complaining; or to contribute to a ministry of the church when it requires an evening out; or to reveal a hidden truth about yourself.           

Consider Jesus, who had an opportunity only he could have, an opportunity to redeem his people. But what a purchase price! He drank the cup, endured the cross, the shame, and the hostility. He made the most of the opportunity, owned it all the way.

And now we, who are redeemed by his blood, who stand before God clothed in his righteousness, get to do something for him. He blesses us with opportunities to further His Kingdom on earth.

Let’s be looking for those kingdom-furthering opportunities, and when we see them, make the most of them.

Stan Tyvoll serves as a 5th Grade Sunday School Teacher at GRC.