Monday, July 15, 2013

Siezing the Opportunity

I have heard the phrase "carpe diem" which means to seize the day and it used to encourage us to use every day as an opportunity to succeed in our efforts. However, what is an opportunity? The Apostle Paul encourages us to, "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone" (Colossians 4:5-6). What opportunity is he referring to?
The etymology of the English word "opportunity" comes from the Latin "ob portu." It was used by ships Captians of the right time to pull into a harbor when the vessels had no motor and had to rely on the currents and the wind. They would wait outside the harbor until the tide was coming which was considered the "ob portu" (literally "into port") knowing that missing that moment would mean another day's wait.
There circumstances must align for "ob portu" to be utilized. First there had to be a port to enter. Second something on board worth docking to deliver. Finally, the right conditions to enter the port.
Looking at Paul's observation I believe we can see three conditions for us to make the most of every opportunity. First we need to see the need among the people who do not follow Jesus in our circle of influence. Once we find the area in their lives that would be most affected by choosing to follow Jesus we look for the second condition.
The second condition seems to be the one we feel less likely to recognize in ourselves which is the ability to be able to demonstrate through our lives and words that Jesus has what they need and can fulfill their lives. Jesus promised he would give us the words even if we were arrested - so relying on the Spirit to supply will allow us to meet condition two.
When we accept the truth of the first two condition - we have what they need and we are able to help them to see that - then we must set sail as soon as there is an opening. We tend to look for opportunities and then try to look for the need and the words. When we have the first two in place we will be ready to respond to the opportunity no matter when or where it occurs.

No comments:

Post a Comment