The following illustration is amusing to me, but also demonstrates that we often see things differently depending on our perspective.
There were once two salesmen who went to Africa to open new sales territories. Three days after they arrived, the first salesman faxed a message: “I will be returning home on the next plane. I can’t sell shoes here. Everyone goes barefoot all the time.
There was no report from the second salesman for about two weeks. Then came a fat airmail envelope with this message for the home office. “Fifty orders enclosed. Prospects unlimited. Nobody here has shoes.”
There are opportunities to serve, care for others, and have gospel conversations all around us if we would look at the world around us as Jesus did.
In 1 Corinthians 16, Paul mentions he will “…stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door of effective work has been opened to me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Corinthains 16:8-9). He goes on to mention that Timothy is also doing the work of the Lord and for the believers to help him.
As believers, followers of Christ, we are to be obedient in the calling He has placed on us. In reality, it is the Great Commission He has commanded of us. (Matthew 28:19-20) Let us serve faithfully and help one another.
As we seek to serve the Lord this year, there are 3 things I want to point out from Paul’s words:
First, Recognize the Opportunity.
Paul recognized the door of opportunity (effective work, vs. 9) around him for ministry. He saw beyond his own agenda and saw the needs of others. He saw people in need. He saw opportunities to share with others both in tangible and intangible ways. He saw their need to hear about Jesus. And so, he took advantage of the opportunity.
Look around and recognize the opportunities for ministry around you.
Second, Respond to the Offer.
Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” NAS
Terry Hopkins, Minister of Evangelism/Mission at FBC Snellville, GA shares his testimony of how he came to Christ. As a new believer he was so excited and thankful God saving him that he said one night, “Lord, thank you for saving me. I’m so grateful. I appreciate it so much. Whatever you need, I’m your man.”
Of all the little things we can do, all the needs we can meet, all the opportunities we have, of all the things we can do for God…He just wants us to RESPOND!
It’s not about WHAT you do, but about WHO you’re doing it for!!
Respond to the Lord’s offer to serve.
Third, Resist the Opposition.
Paul says in verse 9, “and there are many adversaries.” When you begin to serve the Lord faithfully, Satan will be on the attack. Expect it. Be ready for it. Resist it.
Paul continued in verses 13 & 14, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”
We often say in the disaster relief ministry, “It is the hardest work you’ll ever love!” Ministry is not always easy. It is sometimes messy. It is usually hard work and may cost us time, energy and financially. But the blessings are immeasurable!
I have thought many times that if I had not responded to the opportunities around me, I would have missed so many blessings and so many “God moments.”
Opportunity awaits you. Say yes today!
You can discover ways to serve by visiting www.kybaptist.org