Opportunity, The Greatest of Gifts!
By Dave Breese
There are many wonderful gifts which God gives to man. For each of us, the list grows ever longer because daily we are the beneficiaries by grace of a mounting plethora of good things from God.
Of all these gifts, which is the greatest? There is a word which presents an answer to that question which should be the subject of regular thanks to God by all of us. That word, that great gift, is opportunity.
Opportunity is a very wonderful thing. It means that I can be something today which I wasnt yesterday. It means that God has yet even greater things for His people. It means that there are vistas before us which have yet to be realized. This is promised by Jesus Christ when He speaks to the Church, saying, Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it (Rev. 3:8). This, of course, means that opportunity is ours from God and will never fail us so long as our hearts are right with Him. We may thank God for the gift of opportunity.
But the word opportunity means little unless it takes an object. What opportunities are presented to us by a gracious God? With a little thought, that question has a marvelous set of answers.
First of all, God presents to every man the opportunity to be saved. With wide-open arms, Christ still stands before the world saying, Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28). The invitation to come to Christ is extended to every man. God offers that man full and free salvation without price, by grace alone.
This is possible because Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. The death of Christ, the blood shed on the cross, was the most awful price ever expended for anything. Consequently, the debt of sin for you and for me has been forever paid. We therefore are invited to be Christians, and we can do so by responding to the simple formula: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved (Acts 16:31). When I believe on the Lord Jesus, I am instantly and eternally saved. The Bible does not say, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be put on probation. It promises instead the gift of eternal life.
When I become a Christian, I am still and especially the recipient of Gods gift of opportunity. The great opportunity which God gives to every believer is the opportunity to serve Him. Paul says, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1). When we do this, we are promised that we will bring to pass the perfect will of God.
Lets face itthe lives of most people in our world are simply worthless. For ninety percent of all who are now alive, at the time of their death it will be just as though they had never lived. They may have large possessions and great prestige, but these mean nothing apart from Christ. Human fame is no proof whatsoever that a life is significant. Therefore, we must remember that every person who is not a Christian, without exception, is even now living a wasted life.
Not so for the believer. In giving us the opportunity to serve Him, God promises that we will accomplish significant things for His glory. In fact, They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever. The Christian is promised that If any mans work abide which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. Were invited to serve Christ on the promised reward which awaits us in glory.
But we are also rewarded here on earth for serving the Lord Jesus. No feeling is more wonderful within the human heart than the sense that we have served Christ well. Happiness comes from responsibilities met, from duties fulfilled. Many people living depressed lives wonder why happiness escapes them. There is no happiness apart from the accomplishment of significant things.
Serving Christ in this world also guarantees that we will have the satisfaction of knowing that we have made a difference in the lives of others. Never was a testimony given, never was a tract distributed, never was a word for Christ ever spoken which was void and without consequence. No indeed, God uses His people as they labor in the Word to make a vital, saving difference in other peoples lives. God gives us in this life the opportunity to serve Him by doing vital things which will make an everlasting impact in the lives of others.
We must also remember that God will give us in eternity the opportunity, which is the greatest of all, of ruling the universe with Him. The Bible promises that If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him (II Tim. 2:12). Reigning with Christ! This is the final, joyous reward of a life lived for His glory. But wait, there is something else about opportunity which needs to be remembered. Opportunity means nothing unless we are also given of God the capability to respond to opportunity. Open doors are but vistas of frustration unless we can move through them. Are we enabled of God to serve Him, to meet todays opportunities? Yes, indeed, we certainly are.
We are enabled, first of all, because we have in our hands the Word of God, the Bible. You and I may pass around our best thoughts about things, but these, while interesting, simply dont matter. But, when we bring the Word to others, the Word strikes upon an alien heart with an impact beyond what we could ever produce. Human eloquence is fine, but the Word of God is infinite. The Christian is impotent who does not know and use the Word.
We are empowered also by a knowledge of the Gospel. When a Christian has been to Calvary and there been cleansed from sin, he knows forever what the Gospel is. It is the message of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, which message is the object of our faith. In the mouth of the Christian, the Gospel becomes the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes. Large elements of the Church today have slowed and then stopped because they have not continued to announce the essential Good News that God has a gift for man. That gift, for which only faith is required, is eternal life.
We are also enabled by the Holy Spirit to serve Christ. Every believer has the Holy Spirit dwelling within him. Every believer has the Spirit working with him in His fullness as long as he is walking in fellowship with God. To know the power of the Spirit, we are told to walk with lives which are cleansed and therefore empowered for His glory.
Quite obviously, when we speak about opportunity we must remember that now is the accepted time. Today is the day of salvation. The greatest opportunity God has given the Church in the living memory of any of us is today. Everywhere is this true! Millions wait in Europe and Asia for the Gospel. Millions could yet be saved in Russia by the Word reaching through doors that are at least temporarily open. Millions await elsewhere across the world to hear the story of life. There is no impediment to this hearing except our own reluctant wills. Opportunity is now.
There is a principle about opportunity which is significant. That principle is that opportunity which is used leads to greater opportunity. Conversely, opportunity which is wasted itself dies and leaves us with the despairing sense that the tide has passed. The secret of success in anything is to respond affirmatively to opportunity. The secret of spiritual success is the same, but the rewards are greater by an infinite degree. Learn today to use one of Gods greatest gifts, the gift of opportunity.
Destiny Newsletter continued