Since we kids are getting older, more spread out and having less time to come home, my family tries to go to the beach every summer so we can all have at least a week together.
We are the ultimate beach people. Dad and my older brother fish on the dock while the rest of us hang on the beach and catch some rays. One of our favorite things to do, however, is walk the beach and look for shells.
Every summer we always come back with at least a shoebox filled with shells… now whether those shells ever see the light of day again is a totally different story, but we have fun gathering them up and seeing God’s beautiful tiny masterpieces.
Shells are funny though.. You can spot a good one, you just have to be quick enough to catch it before the waves come in and carry them off. Even if they hang on the sand, if you walk back by you may never see it again.
This is the scenario that always happens to me- it really never fails. We walk.. I see a beautiful shell.. I say to myself, “That’s a nice shell.. I’ll pick it up on the way back so I don’t have to carry it the whole way”.. and on the way back when I’m looking for it, it has disappeared in the course of the two miles that we had walked and I come back to the condo with only the shells I actually picked up when I saw them.
I started thinking about this and how I regretted not picking up one of the shells as soon as I saw it. It even passed in the back of my mind that I probably wouldn’t find it again on the way back, but I still chose to go with the comfort of waiting and not having to carry it back to the condo.
Isn’t this the way we usually are? We choose the more comfortable way and miss out on catching something beautiful and then miss the opportunity entirely.
“5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity”
God’s been teaching me this lately, how to catch opportunities as soon as they come, before life or time sweep them away. On so many occasions it has passed though my mind, “maybe I should say/do this”, but I choose not to because it’s the more comfortable route.
“10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
God doesn’t call us to do easy things; He calls us to obedience. When we choose to obey, even when it may seem to be a bit awkward, He blesses us tremendously and opens our eyes to so many other opportunities that we have every single day to bring all glory to Him.
“But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.”
There are so many inspiring examples of people in the Bible who were called by God to make the most of the opportunities in obedience and because of their obedience, they were blessed and made a huge impact. Esther saved her people, even when standing up and taking the opportunity could have meant death. Abraham could have blown God off when God called him to sacrifice Isaac, but because of Abraham’s act of faith and obedience, God blessed he and his family and fulfilled His promises to Abraham. Noah was probably ridiculed and laughed at for building the ark, but because of his obedience, Noah chose to build the ark and because of his obedience, he and his family were saved. Rahab could have chosen to send the spies on their way, but chose the dangerous option to hide them and save their lives because she knew that these men had a powerful God. She was blessed because of her obedience and is listed in the lineage of Jesus because of that courageous obedience. The writer of Hebrews writes the whole eleventh chapter about people who acted in obedience and how God used them to do big things for His kingdom, just because they took their opportunities and made the most of them.
“15 Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
– Ephesians 5:15-16
So we should not only make the most of every opportunity that we’re given, but we should be looking for the many opportunities that He gives us every day, however big or small they may seem, and making every effort to give Him the glory and trust Him in obedience, even when it may not be the easiest or most comfortable thing to do.