Thursday, April 24, 2008

Making the Most of Every Opportunity

I have a calendar on my desk at work with inspirational messages/ instructions for each day, as well as Scripture to go along with it. (Thanks Tiffany, I’m enjoying my Christmas present!) A recent day’s instruction is below;

Be quick to take advantage of an advantage.

Colossians 4:5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.

I don’t particularly care for this translation (NIV) of this verse, because I don’t like the word outsiders, it also appears in the NASB translation. For me, this verse inspires the most meaning and comes across with the most love in the NLT translation below.

Colossians 4:5 Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.

This particularly stood out to me because I frequently feel that I miss opportunities to share my faith, or to love others in actions and in truth throughout my day. I meet so many people in a day through my job, activities etc, and at times can be so caught up in tasks, being busy, my agenda, my needs, or not having the right words that I let opportunities pass me by. I’m really disappointed at this, and I desperately desire to be so aware of the Spirit and His promptings in any situation that I am aware of the opportunities around me and will make the most of them at the sacrifice of whatever else is on my plate. Lately as I’ve started to make the most of more opportunities that I’m given I’ve noticed that the Lord is giving me more and more opportunities to minister to others and share my faith throughout my day. This has been awesome! It has been wonderful to become more aware of His presence in my work and other areas of my life and to submit those to Him! I am finding so much more joy in things like my job, which I formerly thought was all focused on the bottom line for Kelly Services, now that I can see God at work throughout my day here, and see ways that He is using me for kingdom purposes through my job. At any given moment it is the tendency of my human flesh to get overwhelmed, busy, task oriented and fall back into that mode, so this is a constant struggle for me, but the Lord is continuing to teach me how to let go of that and be led by the Spirit more regularly. It takes constant prayer and submission to Him.

The other thing that helps me in this is that my husband is a great teammate and counter-part for me in this aspect. Where I can tend to be task oriented at times, he is very much people oriented. We are both very relational, the difference for me is that if I’m assigned a task I get caught up in whether my allegiance/ duty lies to the task at hand or to what I enjoy more, which would be the relationship building. I get stuck in a worker mentality. Jeremy is very aware of people, their needs, and feelings, and isn’t quite so task oriented. A perfect example of this playing out was last weekend at Habitat for Humanity. We were all assigned our various tasks and pretty much spread throughout the house working independently on them. Next thing I know I look up and Jeremy is sitting on the porch talking to someone. My first instinct was actually to think that he was just trying to get out of doing work for a little bit, but I decided to stop what I was doing and see what was going on. I went out on the porch and Jeremy and I had a really nice conversation getting to know two of the other volunteers that we were working with. It was only about a ten minute break, but the connection that we made, and the time invested in that relationship showing them that we did care and were interested in who they were was so much more meaningful than a lot of the work we were doing. Unfortunately that was not my first instinct though, I was stuck in worker mentality and wanted to call my husband lazy. How much does that sound like Martha nagging at Jesus to make Mary help her with the work? I am very glad that we had that conversation with those two women, but more so am glad that when we discussed it later my husband was able to teach me a valuable lesson about myself and how I respond to things, and what is really important in a kingdom sense. There I was, thinking I was doing something good for the kingdom by doing my task of building houses for those in need, but quite frankly, if those in need don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus the house isn’t going to help them that much, and Jeremy realized that in that moment, he realized what was important. He is a great partner and teammate for me. Baby, thank you for the patience and grace that you show your worker bee wife! It’s amazing how in giving several hours of my time to Habitat for Humanity to serve others, God was able to take such a small situation to allow me to experience Him in a whole new way, to show me something I’ve been missing, and hopefully I will be able to carry it with me going forward. I think that I actually gained more on Saturday then the owner of the house did by me caulking their base boards, and I thought that I was setting out to be a blessing to them… isn’t it funny how the Lord can twist that around?!

Lord you are wonderful, and work in amazing ways! Forgive me for the opportunities that I have not been faithful with and made the most of, forgive me for having out of place priorities, forgive me for so frequently being centered on myself and not you. Cleanse me from those ways, fill me with your Spirit and guide me in your will. Thank you for giving me a husband who is strong where I am weak, thank you for revealing yourself to him, for his faithfulness and trust in you. Lord make us aware of your promptings and opportunities so that we may make the most of them and bring you glory.


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