“. . . making good use of every opportunity . . .”

“Be wise in the way you act toward those who are not believers, making good use of every opportunity you have. Your speech should always be pleasant and interesting, and you should know how to give the right answer to everyone.” (Colossians 4:5-6)

Last week I walked to my car in the church parking lot after an evening meeting.  On my way I noticed this spectacular hole in the dark clouds with the moon peeking through.  I grabbed my camera, got off about four fast shots, then stopped to look at the photos on my camera to see about making any adjustments.  It was but a brief look, but by the time I pointed my camera skyward again, the hole had closed and the moon was totally obscured.  It was an opportunity almost missed . . .

Opportunities are very important.  Sometimes we can help formulate an opportunity, but I’m convinced that most if not some of the most important opportunities are presented to us like gifts.  It’s up to us to be ready, aware, and bold enough to respond to the opportunity when it’s presented.  As a young pastor serving a church I soon realized that some of the counseling I might offer occurred in my office after someone had made an appointment to see me, but probably some of the most significant and helpful counseling for others took place in more unusual places like the end of the pew after a service, the vegetable aisle in the grocery store, the hospital room or waiting room, the bleachers at a game, or maybe the front porch of a home.  I actually began to call it front porch counseling because it reminded that people were waiting to share their hurt in some of the most unexpected locations as long as someone was ready to take advantage of the opportunity when it was presented and respond with compassionate listening. 

I’m also reminded of many parents who have known that their adolescent was hurting but could not get them to sit down and talk about it.  The parents really wanted to help, but they just couldn’t get the adolescent to open up.  I would tell these parents that it was all about opportunity.  They shouldn’t expect the adolescent to set a time and sit down to talk, but the parents should realize that they’re being watched to see if they can handle what their adolescent might need to share.  I would tell the parents to be ready for that opportunity, offered them as a gift, because it might come at the most inopportune time.  The parents would need to stop whatever they might be doing and listen, because the door their adolescent had just opened could close just as quickly as the hole in the cloud that revealed the moon to me last week.

It is a precious gift when someone shares their hurt, fear, doubts, and frustrations.  I believe they observe us for awhile to determine if we’re the one to whom they will present their opportunity.  We might not realize, but they’re watching us, assessing us, and waiting for the right opportunity to share their situation with us.  It’s up to us to be ready to pause in our busyness, set aside our agenda for the moment, and make the other aware that we are, by the grace of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit, ready to listen.  I pray that God will help me be aware and available to receive the opportunities for helping that are offered, wherever and whenever they might be presented.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,


Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.



Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”



~ by revgenelson on January 22, 2014.

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