Make the most of every opportunity!
by Robert Chamberlain
making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:16 NIVUK
I often hear this phrase in the context of evangelism- witnessing to people of the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ.
That’s a correct reading of the passage, which is about walking as children of light in a dark world- “letting our little lights shine” if you like- reflecting the light of Christ into the gloom of a lost and dying world.
But whenever I’ve heard people use this phrase in the context of evangelism, they’ve tended to be very passive in their reading. It’s as though we have to wait for opportunity to knock and open up the door for a “gospel conversation”.
This would seem to fit with Peter-
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
1 Peter 3:15 NIVUK
Peter was writing to Christians suffering severe persecution. His advice would be especially applicable to the “persecuted church” today. God doesn’t expect us to invite persecution. But when we get asked why we’re hopeful (which we should be and should happen!) we should rep our Lord even if we know it will probably result in persecution.
Other Scriptures call us to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Christ. We’re told to preach Christ to all creation. Interestingly however, the early church only seriously took that command when they were persecuted and forced to flee from their comfort zones.
Back to making the most of every opportunity. I don’t think that spiritually making the most of every opportunity is so different from humanistically making the most of every opportunity.
Humanly speaking, success isn’t handed to us on a platter. We can’t just wait for opportunities to come our way, we have to go out and make opportunities. If we’re capable of going to university, it’s not enough to rest on our laurels before we’ve even graduated. We have to apply ourselves and work hard.
Why would we expect the spiritual realm to be so different? Instead of passively waiting for opportunities to witness of Christ (and not getting many), why not go out there and create them?
Think of lifestyle bloggers and self help gurus telling you to make the most of every opportunity to serve yourself.
Well instead of being all selfish about it, why not make oppotunities for the kingdom of God, rather than the kingdom of self?
Let me give you an example, to encourage you rather than to show off.
Yesterday I was in my “tent making” job, emptying a shipping container of scented candles with such scents as “calm, relax, unwind”… and “peace”.
“I don’t think you can get much peace from a candle”, I laughed with my colleague.
Then I said, “are you calm/relaxed/unwound… at peace?”
Sadly, to this last question my colleague replied “no”. They went on to explain why they weren’t at peace and how they thought they’d find it (sadly way off the mark).
Having heard them, I could go on to explain how God can give us peace with Himself, one another and ourselves. I gave a salty sample of the gospel to my colleague, and I hope it leaves them thirsty for more of the living waters of Christ.
So there you are. You might not often get a “peace candle” opportunity to share the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus, but I encourage you to be creative in your context to be a bright, shining, proactive ambassador for Christ.