What goes through your mind when you hear a phrase like “seizing opportunities”? Or how about “seize the day,” “carpe diem,” or any other sayings that we have heard that remind us of the importance of making the most of every opportunity? It’s funny how often we hear that very reminder, and even say it ourselves, and yet forget the truth behind those words. We can so easily be carried along by the busyness of life and our own created schedules that these words sound more like a mystical ideal than a reality. When you get right down to it, making the most of every single opportunity might not seem realistic or, at the very least, sounds really exhausting.
When I think of seizing opportunities I think of some of the shared experiences that Jenilee and I have had with our young children. It is a humbling, exciting, and joyous thing to be able to share in some of their “firsts” in life. Whether it be their first taste of “real food,” their first time crawling, or first steps, the list can go on and on. It is fun seeing the look on their faces when they try or experience something new for the first time that we are there to capture and take in with them. Those are some times that I seriously cherish and are memories that will last forever.
One of the more recent ones that I got to experience with my son, Luke, was his first snow tunnel this winter. The guy who plows the parking lot at church does a marvelous thing when he does because he piles up all the snow in these big mounds right in our yard! It makes the perfect place for digging snow tunnels, sliding hills, you name it! I can remember digging out and tunneling through one of these massive drifts a few months ago…when we still had snow…with Luke watching. After I was finished he eagerly wanted to crawl through to the other side to check it out. His face was priceless when he finally shimmied his way to the other end. He was almost in disbelief, but there was a hint of a smirk on his face that showed he was quite proud of his brave, new accomplishment. I will never forget that and I look forward to taking advantage of more of those opportunities to show him the fun side of life.
Now if I’m going to be honest, some opportunities like this one are not always eagerly taken advantage of. There are days when I get home from doing things at church and the last thing I want to do is take 10 minutes to bundle up a toddler, take him outside in the cold, and dig a snow tunnel. I would much rather unwind and relax in my warm house…I can be a little selfish with my free time at times…or what I think is my free time. But it is always so rewarding to take advantage of those moments because, as I am reminded, by others who have done this before me, the time goes by too fast and those opportunities will be gone and in the past. This is one thing that continuously spurs me on to make the most of these opportunities with my kids even though I may not always feel like it. It never does disappoint.
As we continue on in our Waypoints series in Acts, we come to a time in Paul’s life where he was nearing the end of his ministry and was having to continuously defend himself and his faith in the numerous trials and hearings that he would face near the end of his life. He was given numerous opportunities to share the Gospel and the life-changing work of Jesus Christ in his life. Paul was able to do this because of his obedience to God and because he was in tune to how God was leading him to live as a witness for Him. It is a great reminder and invitation to us once again that we are also provided with opportunities to live and speak in such a way that we model and show Christ to those around us. While we may not always feel like doing this, and there are many times we may not know we are witnessing for Him, we are still given that immense gift of showing those around us the love that was first shown to us by our Savior.
Pastor Ben Bigaouette