This past Sunday I spoke twice for the brethren at the Northeast Church of Christ in Clearwater, Florida. My topic for the Sunday Worship service was “Make the Most of Your Opportunities.”
The basis for the lesson is found in Ephesians 5:15-16. “Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
Here’s the “Cliffs Notes” version of that lesson.
Be careful how you live, if you want to make the most of your opportunities. If you live recklessly, selfishly, fearfully or aimlessly you will miss out on opportunities to serve others, do good, and share your faith.
It takes wisdom to make the most of your opportunities. Not worldly wisdom. But “the wisdom that is from above” (Jas 3:17). Spiritual wisdom is gained by developing a relationship with the Lord through Bible study and prayer, as well as spending time with godly people.
The text tells us that the days are evil. They were in Paul’s time. They are today in the 21st century. This should compel us to make the most of every opportunity to do good. In a sin-darkened world that is irreligious, impious and immoral, let your light shine (Phil. 2:15-16) for the Lord. Others will see your good works. And God will be gloried (Matt 5:14-16).
However, if we are to make the most of every opportunity, we must do three things. (1) Seek opportunity. (2) See Opportunity. (3) Seize opportunity. The fact is we find what we are looking for. But we must open our eyes to really see. J. Oswald Sanders once said, “Eyes that look are common, eyes that see are rare.” But seeking and seeing is not enough. But we seize the opportunity when it appears. If we don’t, it will pass and we will miss out.
Now the point of this post is my Sunday lesson was not a theoretical, theological treatise to merely be appreciated, but to be applied. Today is such an opportunity.
Today is #GivingTuesday.
Following Thanksgiving Day, we’ve all heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday for getting good deals on gifts. Today is heralded as a national day of giving. According to their website, #GivingTueday was founded by a group of business, professional and philanthropic leaders in 2012, and “has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy with events throughout the year and a growing catalog of resources.” Among other well known national leaders, it is supported by Bill and Melinda Gates.
“#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.”
Giving, of course, can take different forms. Some give by volunteering their time to serve their communities. Others possess a special skill set that can benefit non-profit organizations. And, of course, some have discretionary funds to make monetary donations to causes they wish to support.
Norma Jean and I like to use this opportunity to make some additional contributions to some organizations we support, including a special private college, a foundation and a medical research organization.
Giving is a very personal matter. With varying resources at different times and differing priorities, our choices will be diversified. But most of us have an opportunity to do something.
The Bible encourages Christians this these words. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Gal. 6:10).
Indeed “we make a living by what we get. (But) “we make a life by what we give” (Winston Churchill).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman