TEXT: GALATIANS 6: 10
- This lesson aims at encouraging Christians to appreciate and utilize for good, the opportunities that God has offered them in life.
- That our successes and failures in spiritual and physical aspects of life are dependent upon our ability to make the best of opportunities our Creator has bestowed upon us.
- That opportunities can be taken away from us if we fail to use it properly.
- Heaven will be our dwelling place when we put to use the chances God had created for us.
DEFINITION OF WORDS
Utilizing means to put to use, especially to make profitable or effective use of:
To use something in an effective way. (Cambridge English Dictionary)
God: Ex 3:14. Jere. 23:24, Isa. 57:15. John 4:24
Opportunities is a plural noun of the word opportunity. It is defined as a time or set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. An appropriate or favourable time or occasion. A condition favourable for attainment of a goal.
From the Biblical point of view opportunity, is an event or moment at which actions of importance or significance can be achieved from Greek word (Kairos). It is critical or decisive point in time, period marked by distinct conditions. Eccl. 3:1, every possible opportunity to do good must be taken, Gal. 6:10.
It is a statement of facts that opportunity is always around us. Sometimes, we are unaware or untrained to make use of the opportunities life presents us with, thereby allowing opportunity to slip by. Irrespective of our backgrounds, social status and beliefs in life, God has graciously given us opportunity to utilize and succeed. In economics, there is what they call opportunity cost:
That is when an option is chosen from alternatives: the benefits and individuals misses out when choosing one alternative over another. As a business man or woman, opportunity is always knocking at your door. Are you a philanthropist, the needy ones are everywhere waiting for your help.
As a Christian, there are many/several capacities/ways to serve God. By attending church activities, preaching the gospel, leading in songs, visiting the sick ones, cleaning the church premises, encouraging one another unto every good works etc.
Suffice it to say that God has blessed us with sundry opportunities to serve Him and to achieve greatness in life, that is why Solomon in his wisdom opines that time and chance happeneth for all. Eccl. 9:11.
Unfortunately, many people see opportunity as problems which they cannot surmount or overcome. While others view it as a challenge, a golden opportunity for change, progress and developments.
The question now is,
- Is opportunity for all: If it’s so, is it equal?
- If I lose it, would I get it back?
- Why do people waste or misuse opportunity they have been given?
The parable of the talents (opportunity given)
Zacchaeus (opportunity searched)
David (opportunity delivered)
Matt. 25:14-29 (Opportunity Given)
God in His wisdom has given us abilities and opportunities to serve Him, by entrusting in our care varying degrees of talents (gift). The gift might be wisdom to advice, render services to God and humanity, resources to help others, encouraging people who are
devastated etc. It is true that opportunity which is a gift from God does not have the same measurements. However, the way and manner we put them to use is paramount.
In verse 16, the servant who received five talents made gain by working hard to multiply his gift to ten. The servant who received two talents increased to four talents. But the man who got one talent decided to waste the opportunity given him by burying his talent on the ground. On the day of reckoning, two servants were commended and rewarded while one of them was condemned. In summary, God expect us to utilize our opportunities judiciously to the glory of His Name.
LESSON: Some people are lazy, ungrateful and jealous of others instead of using what they have to their advantage. What we have can be taken away from us is we don’t know its value.
LUKE 19: 1-9 (OPPORTUNITY SEARCHED)
This is the Chief Tax Collector who was very rich yet, he sought for an opportunity to see Jesus. Having heard that the Messiah is going to passed through Jericho, decided to climb a tree to see him.
When Jesus saw him, he called him by his name Zaccaeus, meaning Pure come down salvation has come to your house.
LESSON: Zaccaeus did not have the chance like others who walked up to meet Jesus. He never allowed his stature to hinder him but, he brought his wisdom to bear by climbing the tree to see Jesus. As Christian we need to look for every opportunity to work for God in spite of our inadequacies.
1 SAM. 24:1-20 (OPPORTUNITY GIVEN)
When Saul heard that David was in the wilderness of Engedi he decided to look for three thousand men from Israel to harm him, after returning from war with the Philistine. When Saul went to rest on a cave incidentally, David and his men where there too. David had an opportunity to kill Saul but refused since Saul was God’s anointed. When Saul realized that David had opportunity to kill him but refused to, he wept bitterly.
LESSON: As Christian we should emulate David’s compassionate heart in sparing his enemy’s life. Let us use every opportunity to forgive those who offends us. For the battle is not our but God. We should return good for evil, vengeance is mine says the Lord! Rom. 12:17.
TYPES OF OPPORTUNITY
Opportunity to go to school, work, show kindness or help others, preach the gospel, attend church activities, edify/strengthen the weak, repent, travel, be baptized, marry, involve in one business or the other, learn a trade, secure political appointment etc.
HOW TO IDENTIFY AND MAXIMIZE GOD’S GIVEN OPPORTUNITIES
- Through accurate and timely information: Information and communication plays a vital role in human history. That is why the world today has turned to a global village, as a result of information management and dissimilation. The importance of information in bringing opportunity to us, cannot be over emphasized. Conversely, if you are not informed you will be deformed. We can identify and maximize our opportunity through prints and electronics media, like the News Papers, Magazines, Journals, Radio, Television, Handsets, Computers, Internet, Social Media, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook etc. These sources of information bring to us information about employment, events, actions and happenings in our domain and diaspora which enhances our chances in identifying beautify opportunities in life. We can equally identify opportunity by attending seminars, workshops, public lectures symposium etc.
In Gen. 41:12 we are told that the Chief butler informed Pharaoh about Joseph, this afforded him the opportunity to be a governor in Egypt. Prov. 15:30: Prov. 25:25. Num. 13:30 speaks more on the importance of information. The question now is how many of us have informed our brethren about opportunity that can better their lives? Or better still employ them when the opportunity and power is within us.
- Be well equipped or prepared: An unknown Author said that “Luck is when opportunity meets preparedness”, which means that some of the opportunities that will come your way requires adequate preparations from you to identify and use them. We need to be trained, knowledgeable, skillful with some level of experiences in order to identify and maximize our chances in life. For instance, if an individual is not knowledgeable in Medical Practice, Engineering, Arts, Social Sciences and other fields of human endeavours, he would not be able to grab such opportunity whenever it comes. The scripture says that Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. Acts 7:22. Paul was trained in Jewish law by Gamaliel, that enabled him to defend the gospel of Christ. Acts 22:3; Prov. 15:14; Prov. 8:10. Read Ecc 7:12. Unfortunately, some of our youth, misuse or abuse the chances given to them by their parents or relatives. But when the chips are down, they begin to blame their parents for their woes.
- Step out of your comfort zone: For you to identify and maximize the opportunity the Creator had kept for you, you need to search for it. Maybe your own opportunity needs a little stretch or strain on your part to actualize it. Of course, some of the wealthiest men you see today did not make it on a Platter of gold, but by dint of hard work and commitment. Assuming that gold is deposited in Uyo in large quantity, many people would not get to the site to see things themselves, talkless of mining it. The children of Israel were given Mana free of charge by God but, you have to go out and fetch them. The prophets and servants of God of old had to leave their comfort zone to carryout God’s instructions.
- Be Hospitable: We can as well identify opportunity by being hospitable. Hospitality is being friendly and generous in entertaining guests, visitors and strangers. Solomon says, a man’s gift opens doors for him, and bring him before great men. Proverb 18:16. In other words, a man’s hospitality brings him to important people with rewarding opportunities. We are familiar with the story of Elisha and the Shunammite woman II Kings 4:8-17, Abraham, Sarah and the Angel. Gen. 18:1-19, I Tim. 5:10, Matt. 25:42-46, 1 Peters 4:8-9, Acts 16:33-34.
- Be humble, honest and straight forward in your relationship with people: The way we deal with or relate with people can bring opportunity our way. Humility as we know precedes greatness. God resist the proud and gives grace to the meek. I Peter 5:5-6.
A humble, simple and unassuming fellow would be recommended and granted the opportunity to serve. Honesty and straightforwardness will bring better chances for you to utilize. Prov. 11:3, Prov. 12:22
- Be Prayerful: Through prayers God would help you to recognize and discover opportunities he had prepared for you. Prayer is capable of warding off all antics and manipulation of the devil and his agents who may be standing on your way to identify and use those chances God has kept for you. The faithful prayers of the saint availeth much. James 5:16. Rom. 12:12; Eph. 6:18.
WAYS OF OBTAINING OPPORTUNITY
- By seeking Luke 19:1-9; Matt. 7:7-8
- By Giving Matt. 25:14-29, I Sam. 24:1-20
- By Struggling
- By perseverance James 1:12
- By Excellent performance
- By meeting
IMPROPER WAY OF UTILIZING OPPORTUNITY
King David – Adultery/Murder II Sam. 11:1-20
King Ahab – Covetousness/Murder I Kings 21:1-21
The Prodigal Son – Wasted Opportunity. Lk. 15:11-24
Judas Iscariot – Betrayed His Master Matt. 26:14-24
Lecturers/Teachers – Bribery, sex for marks and victimized students
CEOs/Manager of Companies – Take undue advantage over others due to the position they held.
Directors/Political office holders, civil servants Business Men/Women – Hide people’s file, give them query or Transfer/post them out unjustly.
Artisan/Craftsmen – Duped people
Church leaders – Lord over the people of God
Husband/Wife – Deprive/deny their spouses of their dues
Domestic servant/care takers – Defile people’s children because you have been given opportunity to serve.
Why do people carryout these acts?
PROPER WAY OF MAXIMIZING GOD’S GIVEN OPPORTUNITY
- Preaching the gospel, visiting the sick ones, showing brotherly love to brethren, by teaching them how to fish, support the orphans/widows, encourage the weak/backslider to every good works, worship God, work hard to earn a living etc.
- The midwives spared the Hebrew Children at birth – 1:15-22
- Rahab saved the spies – 2:1-17
- Esther saved the Jews from Haman’s Plot – Esther 4; 5; 7:3-6
- Priscilla and Aquila taught/preached to Apollos – Acts 18:24-26
- Dorcas sewed clothing materials to those in need – Acts 9:36-42
- An elderly (Ag. 82) who was the chief Imam saves 262 Christians by hiding them in a mosque during Crisis at Barkin Ladi LGA of Plateau State 2018. He received a National/International freedom award from Nigerian Government and the US Govt.
THE DANGERS OF NOT UTILIZING THE OPPORTUNITY GOD HAS GIVEN YOU
- It brings stagnation and under development
- It deprives you of your blessings.
- It brings regret and life time sorrows
- It will be taken away from you
- God’s judgment, it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Heb. 10: 31.
THE BENEFITS OF USING GOD’S GIVEN OPPORTUNITY
As a Christian you will have peace, joy and rest of mind having used the chances God had bestowed on you. You will be remembered for good even when you must have departed this life. There will be more blessings, elevation for you in this life and in the life to come, the crown of life. Rom. 15:13; Matt. 25:21, Ps. 112:5-6; 1 Tim. 4:7-8
Whenever opportunity comes your way utilize it wisely to serve God and humanity.
Remember sometimes that opportunity may come to you once in a life time. Whenever opportunity knocks at your door assess, evaluate and seek wise counsel where necessary so that you will not miss it.
If you have wasted or misused a golden opportunity maybe through ignorance before, pray for forgiveness perhaps another chance would be given to you.
UYO TOWN CHURCH OF CHRIST, 20 PAUL BASSEY STREET, UYO
SUNDAY SCHOOL FOR FEBRUARY2020 (ADULT) PRESENTED BY BRO. OTUEKONG BROWN