So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
– Ephesians 5:15-20
The word opportunity has some significant etymological roots having to do with the tide and winds coming toward port. And while it is said that opportunity knocks but once truth is opportunity often knocks more than once. Just as the tide comes in and out, and offers the opportunity for a ship to come into port twice in a 24 hour period, so we often discover the same to be true of life. There may be opportunities coming and going in the course of each day.
An example: You encounter a friend in the grocery store. You’re going up one aisle and down another. So is she. You pass once and you speak briefly, noticing something you can’t quite put your finger on. As you pass later that same shopping trip, you take the opportunity to stop and ask, “Is everything OK? You look troubled.” You had the opportunity twice and this second time you take the opportunity to speak, ask, and probe gently. And you learn: her husband has just gotten a troubling report from the doctor. Now you have an opportunity to pray and encourage and comfort your friend.
We are to make the most of every opportunity. That calls for us to recognize situations and contexts to speak truth, express love, and offer wisdom. It need not be profound wisdom, effusive love or hard truth. But those stand in stark contrast to taking the opportunity to go out on the town, live in careless abandon, and hit every bar or night spot you possibly can.
Making the most of every opportunity is a two-fold issue. Living with an awareness of people and needs, situations, and opportunities God presents is the first step. Seizing those kairos moments – when God opens doors, sets people before us, or awakens us to our need for him – is the first step. The second is doing something about it.
James says faith without works is dead. Opportunities without action are lost. Let’s not lose a one – especially if it presents itself a second time. Sometimes it does.