“Make the most of every opportunity.” (Colossians 4:5b NIV);
About this time last year, I had a chance to spend some time with the man that mentored me spiritually when I was in high school. He now lives in Birmingham, AL and I was there for a few days attending a conference for church leaders. I hadn’t seen him in over twenty years and I really wanted to get together with him while I was there. We took every chance we could to hang out, which was usually when I had a lunch or dinner break from the conference. It wasn’t long before I was learning from him again.
One of our outings was to Bass Pro Shop because he wanted to buy me an ice cream and some cinnamon flavored Ju Ju Bears that they sell there. The lady behind the ice cream counter greeted us and I immediately began looking over the various flavors of ice cream trying to decide which one to get. Mike, on the other hand, had already engaged the lady in conversation and had her laughing. He has a way of setting people at ease with humor.
We placed our order. As the lady was scooping our ice cream, I heard Mike ask, “Have you found a church you love in the area yet?” The lady said she hadn’t because she had lost interest in church when she was young.
In his laid back, winsome manner Mike responded, “I know how you feel. There was a time I wasn’t into church or anything spiritual for that matter. I ended up a strung out bar owner in Oklahoma City before I had an encounter with Jesus Christ that turned my life around.”
He then shared a thirty-second synopsis of his testimony, which included a concise but clear presentation of the gospel. The lady handed us our ice cream, told us the price, and asked, “Where do you go to church?” Mike told her where he went to church and where it was located while he paid for our order. “Would love for you to come as my wife’s and my guest this Sunday. I really think you’d enjoy it,” he told her as we left the counter.
We went to two other places inside Bass Pro Shop. I wanted to look at some hiking shoes. While I was looking at shoes, Mike shared the gospel with the shoe clerk in the same manner as he did with the ice cream lady. We then went to a candy counter for the Ju Ju Bears. He did the same with the candy counter lady.
Later that day we went to dinner. He had a similar conversation with our waitress. In two locations, in conversations that lasted less than two minutes at a time, Mike had opened the door to eternity for four people. In the same locations I looked for ice cream, shoes, candy, and food. And, I’m the one in the ministry!
Jesus said, “Open your eyes and look at the fields. They are ripe for harvest” (Jn. 4: 35). I think the reason most of us don’t make the most of every opportunity is that we don’t see the opportunities. The reason we don’t see the opportunities is because we’re not looking for them. We’re not looking for them because we’ve become more focused on our present wants than people’s eternal need.
We need to “open our eyes and look.” I think that when we do, God will show us the opportunities. When He does, let’s be like Mike and make the most of them.