“I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me, but had no opportunity to show it.” (NRSV)
As I read this verse and prayed about it, the word opportunity stood out. When the Philippian church finally had the opportunity to bless Paul financially, they seized it; they acted on it. It was their carpe diem moment. And Paul greatly rejoiced in the Lord.
Paul has a lot to say about the importance of seizing opportunities:
- “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16).
- “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity (Col. 4:5).
- “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Gal. 6:10).
The Holy Spirit gives us holy opportunities every day to meet the emotional, spiritual, and physical needs of others. I confess that I often hesitate to respond mostly out of fear of rejection, and especially out of fear of saying or doing the wrong thing (which is pride). I identify with Eugene Peterson’s confession:
“There is nothing I am less good at than love. I am far better in competition than I am in love. I am far better at responding to my instincts…than I am at figuring out how to love another.…”
And I am learning to follow his example:
“And yet, I decide, every day, to set aside what I can do best and attempt what I do very clumsily—open myself to the frustrations and failures of loving, daring to believe that failing in love is better than succeeding in pride.” (A Long Obedience in the Same Direction).
Questions to Ponder:
1. What, if anything, prevents you from seizing holy opportunities?
2. Who is the Holy Spirit prompting you to bless today?
Prayer of Response:
Heavenly father, help me set aside my pride and seize the holy moments of opportunity you give me to love and bless others through my words and deeds—even if I do them clumsily.
—Submitted by Dona Diehl
Dona is married, has two children, and four grandchildren, and lives in Wheaton, a suburb of Chicago. She and her husband lived in France for ten years working with two English-speaking churches and ministering to university students. She has been with Lifesprings since its beginning and serves on the executive team.