Those “golden opportunities”

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Wildfires in Saskatchewan – a golden opportunity?

TheFreeDictionary.com states that a golden opportunity is “an excellent opportunity that is not likely to be repeated.” These are real kingdom-impacting opportunities, my friends! I pray that every day our eyes are opened to what the Spirit is doing so that we can join God in His work and help more and more people understand His perfect, never-failing love for them.

Biblically, what came to mind regarding “golden opportunities” was Ephesians 5, verses 16-17 which reads, “So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.”

Thinking about “excellent/golden opportunities” and “making the most of every chance I get,” a couple of examples come to mind:

If you live in the Midwest, you may have heard of–or seen the smoke–the effects of out-of-control wildfires that are taking place in many of the northern communities in Saskatchewan where LAMP, the organization in which I am involved, ministers. (I was “fairly close” to a forest fire one year when I taught VBS in Big Trout Lake. “Fairly close” in that the smoke and haze was definitely noticeable and irritating; however, it was not bad enough to evacuate, and never a threat to the community.) Contrast this to 13,000 people displaced from 54 communities in Saskatchewan as of this date. Many have had just 30 minutes to gather things before they left. These people have no idea when they might return, as 105 fires are still burning out of control. Not only that, but there are massive forest fires in large parts of northern British Columbia, Alberta, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Alaska as well. Since God has laid it on my heart to be closely connected with many in northern Canada, I can’t help but ask, “What is it you want me to do, Lord?” I don’t want to miss this opportunity to help others in need and share Your love at just the right moment, when those You love may be even more ready to hear it. I am keeping my ears open to His calling.

There have been several times during my travels that God placed someone in the seat right next to mine to witness to. One thing I have begun to understand more and more is that hurting people rarely decline prayer. A while ago, I watched a man board the plane while talking frantically on his cell phone. He was clearly upset. Everyone within earshot understood that something desperate was going on in his life. The man ended up in the seat next to mine. The aircraft door closed, the man shut off his phone and placed his head into his hands. After the plane took off, I prayed that somehow I would be able to help. I gently touched his shoulder and told him quietly that I had been praying for him. I noticed as I began to talk that several people turned around and nodded, thankful that someone would try to reach out to this man. He must have been thankful, too, because he began to share what had been going on in his life with his wife and children. It was a seemingly impossible, horrific situation, but God helped me to pray, to listen, and to encourage this man. In fact, there are times when I still think of this man. This prompts me to pray once again.

In case you think I am on top of all of those “golden opportunities,” here is an example of a missed opportunity. 20 years ago, I was in Russia on a mission trip. My team spent a few days in Moscow at first, after which we were going to travel to another city to minister. During that time, many Russians were in deep financial distress. We spent a few fun hours at the outdoor market, where we put our limited Russian language skills to work learning to bargain with the dealers there. Shortly after, we did a little sightseeing around the Kremlin and other government buildings. We noticed that people had blankets spread out on the grass in front of these buildings, and were selling all of their possessions, just trying to get enough food to feed their families. These were good, hard-working people, many of whom had most likely worked in those government buildings. Now they were practically homeless. (I know that now, but at the time, I did not realize that was what was happening. That sounds like an excuse, though, doesn’t it?) One older woman was selling homemade hot pads. Wanting to help, but having just experienced the exhilaration of using the Russian language so as to not be taken advantage of, I began to bargain with her. Well, she sold me the hot pad, but I’m pretty sure she also swore at me in Russian. And I don’t blame her. I should have been showing her God’s love by helping her, not by gouging her on the price.

What “golden opportunities” is God placing before you these days? Would you agree these are desperate times? How can you show those God has placed around you His love, compassion, forgiveness, grace and lovingkindness by serving them? Will you trust God to follow through on His promise to help you as you serve others? And, finally, do you understand that even when you miss a golden opportunity, God remains faithful to forgive and will help you to get back up and try again?

May God bless you as you fulfill God’s Word in Daniel, chapter 12: “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

Be wise! Shine! Lead!

Jeanne

 

 

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