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It seems that when opportunity knocks, many don’t recognize it, because it is disguised as work. Some think that opportunity is actually “luck.” Yet, this “luck” seems to follow those who work hard, fulfilling their obligations and commitments. With the workplace in transition because of modern methods, new technology, and changing markets, many fail to keep up with the changing times in their field and are left behind, missing opportunities. Change is relentless, and a willingness to adapt and constantly learn and train is required. This is not new, but the pace of change has accelerated dramatically—leaving many behind.
Proverbs is replete with pithy instruction on this subject. For example, “In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23). Work is required to be a success in any worthwhile endeavor. Another facet of this philosophy is found in Proverbs 24:27, “Prepare your outside work, make it fit for yourself in the field; and afterward build your house.” Becoming established in one’s profession or field is great preparation for marriage and family. Having the right motive, priorities, and ethics also assures that one is on the path to success. “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished” (Proverbs 28:20).
A faithful person will find opportunities to serve his fellow man. “He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor” (Proverbs 22:9). James, the Lord’s half-brother, put it this way: “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:15–17).
Opportunities that are missed are often gone forever. There is a poignant example found in Mark 10:17–22. A young man came to Jesus and asked what he needed to do to gain eternal life. Jesus explained that he should keep the Commandments. The young man answered, "Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” Jesus loved him for that (v. 21) but realized that the man had a stumbling block in his life, something that had come between him and God. “‘One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.’ But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Sadly, the man missed his life-changing opportunity!
There is a wonderful positive example of a man who seized the opportunity for eternal life under the worst of conditions. On a hill near Jerusalem where the Romans carried out gruesome, brutal executions by crucifixion, Jesus, after a mock trial and a severe scourging, was nailed to a wooden stake between two crucified criminals. One of the felons taunted Jesus by saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us!” The other convict rebuked the skeptic, saying, “We receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (Luke 23:39–42). Jesus accepted his plea and said, “Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.” He assured this man that he would one day be with Him in the Kingdom of God (Revelation 20). This man acted on an opportunity, even as he was being executed.
How about you? Will you seize the opportunity that you have in this life and “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33) or, like the young man who “went away sorrowful,” will you let something cause you to miss your opportunity to be in the Kingdom of God?
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