Summary: Opportunities in life are not to be missed since it might bring in unexpected blessing.
The sermon that I want to preach to you today will be on “Making the most of every Opportunity.” I remember someone tell me about the Japanese culture of eating, their ways of doing it will surely give an insight into how best we make use of the opportunity. When they sit around the table, they will have all varieties of dishes placed on the rotating platter and as it comes to you, you need to fill your plates and then rotate the platter again; if you miss it then probably you may not get that dish again. This is such a simple illustration but would tell us more for life, if you miss a chance you miss it – you may not get another. I want to bring you three perspectives concerning the idea of making the best of the opportunity with the life of Rebekah as we read in Genesis 24, and I also want to bring you few reasons as to why we miss these opportunities. But let’s read the key scripture in Ephesians 5:15-17
15Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Having read the scripture let me bring these three perspectives: even before giving you the three perspectives it would be good if we could read Genesis 24 and understand the event so the points that I drive to your minds will be well established. (Genesis 24: 1- 61)
1. Be very careful because the days are evil:
I am sure you are aware of the incident where the servant of Abraham went on a mission of finding a partner for Isaac. This servant after promising Abraham made a very specific prayer that the girl who gives him water must also be willing to give water for the camels. The servant’s specific prayer was answered. He sat down at the place where there was well and the girl Rebekah goes there to fetch water for her home now when she sees the stranger asking for water she lowered her jar and gave him a drink and also offered to fetch water for the camels. Rebekah was not sure of what the consequence would be but she had the virtues of doing good described in the Bible. She could have ignored the stranger or she could have asked him to take help from somebody but Rebekah immediately began helping as we read in proverbs 3:28, when help is at hand she did not want to postpone, but the best part was she was even willing to water the camels. In today’s context people would have called her OE that is over enthusiastic or even ‘nut.’ None of these mattered to her because she knew the traveler was on a long journey and therefore the camels needed the stamina to continue.
Well let me pause a while and give some interesting information about the camels that would add more punch to what I am sharing. In general a camel can go without water for 17 days and the animal would easily consume about 104 liters at one go. Genesis 24:10 says the servant took with him 10 camels – then you can imagine the hard labor of watering the camels for Rebekah. But she knew if she misses this chance she will never have another to help someone therefore she did with such initiatives and enthusiasm. She was very careful in doing good cause she is aware that the days are evil.
2. Be wise – never be foolish:
Rebekah’s act of kindness brought her some immediate favors, the servant of Abraham gave her a nose ring that weighed half a beka that is 5.5grams, (well in the Indian scene a gold gift is something sought after and very precious – it could easily fetch a sum of 6000 Indian rupees). Not only that as he prayed the girl promised to water the camels also so he also gave her two bracelets weighing 10 shekels. Little did Rebekah know that if she waters the camel she will go home with golden jewelry…but the best part was she wanted to be wise in making use of the chance she even invited the servant to come home and stay with them. Another important aspect to be noted is she ran home and told everything to the family members (Genesis 24:28), these days most of the kids hide everything from their parents whether good or bad, but Rebekah was exceptional. Laban the brother of Rebekah came and greeted them and got them to the place where they could eat. But Abraham’s servant refused, he said he will not until he shares the purpose of his visit and explained everything and was asking Rebekah for his master’s son Isaac. Here the opportunity was well used.