Summary: We need to learn how to make the most of opportuntities to participate in God’s redemptive work.
Shakespeare once wrote:
"there is a tide in the affairs of men, Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries."
The Latins had a phrase that expressed the same idea:
"Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero," which translates, "Seize the day; put no trust in tomorrow!"
We stand today at the dawn of a New Year. This year will be filled with opportunities and challenges for each of us. The question confronting us is whether we will seize the opportunities of this New Year.
Paul told the Colossians, "Pray . . . That God may open a door for our message." The door Paul referred to is the door of opportunity to present the Gospel of Christ.
How does God open doors? He opens them through prayer, people, and circumstances. Will you use the doors God opens in your life as an opportunity to share the Good News in this New Year?
As we reflect on the opportunities we will have in the year to come to stand for Christ and share Him with others, there are two observations we should make about opportunities of life.
1. Opportunities that come to us are a gift from God - v. 3
The year before us is filled with promise and potential. God will grant us various opportunities through-out the coming year to partner with Him in His redemptive work. He will be at work in our lives to grant us these opportunities to invest our lives in eternity.
The challenge we will face is to walk close enough to God to be able to recognize the opportunities He gives us and to make the most of them. To do so, two things are required:
A. We must see the opportunities God gives us.
We must learn to see through the eyes of faith if we are to recognize the opportunities God has given us to influence others for Christ.
The key to this is our developing a daily walk with God (v. 2).
"We must cultivate the upward gaze so that we might recognize the work God wants done and join Him there." - Watchman Nee
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." - Matthew 5:8 (NASB)
As we seek to sincerely walk with God and be used of Him to see others brought to faith in Christ, we learn how to recognize God-given opportunities to do so.
Three men has adjacent businesses in the same building. The businessman who ran the store at one end of the building put up a sign over his door reading, "Year End Sale." At the other end of the building, the other businessman had a sign over his door which read, "Close Out Sale." The businessman in the middle, recognizing the opportunity, put up a sign over his door which read, "Main Entrance."
Let me encourage you to make a commitment this year to learn to cultivate your daily walk with God so that you will be able to recognize the God-given opportunities that will come your way to be involved in reaching others for Christ!
B. We must seize the opportunities God gives us.
A story is told about an Englishman watching his first American football game. He looked intently as the teams gathered into huddles after each play. His American host asked what he thought of the game. "Not a bad sport," he replied, "but they do seem to engage in an excessive number of committee meetings."
God’s people are often like that. Rather than being alert to the God given opportunities that are all around us, when it comes to being used to reach others for Christ, we simply meet Sunday after Sunday and talk about it.
We are much like young George Bailey in the movie, "It’s A Wonderful Life." When he is alone with Mary, and finds himself in a romantic moment, he asks her, "Am I talking too much?" To George’s surprise, an old man, who has been sitting on his front porch and listening in on their conversation, answers him by saying, "Yes! Why don’t you kiss her instead of talking her to death?" His point being that George needed to quite talking and take action.
Likewise, when God gives us the opportunity to join with Him in His work of making an eternal difference in the lives of others, we should quit talking about it and do it!
2. Opportunities that come to us are an stewardship from God - v. 5
The opportunities God gives us to influence others for Christ are a stewardship entrusted to us that we will one day be held accountable for.
"When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand." - Ezekiel 3:18 (NASB)