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Opportunity knocking . . .

February 9, 2010

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. – Ephesians 5:15-17 (ESV)

The above passage of scripture is a rather familiar one to a lot of Christ followers. However, taken in proper context, it is a passage that we as American Christians honestly do a pretty bad job living out–myself very much included.

Since moving to Towson in July, Emily and I have been concentrating on improving our obedience to this passage. We consider it a core value in expanding the influence of the Gospel in our community.

This past weekend, Baltimore experienced record snow-fall, and more is on they way by the time many of you read this post.  Ordinarily, being “snowed in” doesn’t leave much of an opportunity to make the most of. Most of the churches in our region were forced to shut down on Sunday, because the snow plows were barely able to keep major roads open, let alone the streets where church leaders live and the church parking lots. We couldn’t really get out to Starbucks and meet people, because they were closed, too. So how did we make the most of this opportunity?

On Friday, with the impending blizzard upon us, I rode to work with my boss in his all-wheel-drive Volvo. Although the storm didn’t really settle in until after we were home, it gave me a great opportunity to talk with him 1-on-1 about the office, our personal lives, and a lot of other stuff. We got to sit in the parent-pick-up line together waiting for his son’s school to let out early, giving us even more time to talk.

On Saturday, as a temporary remedy to Cabin Fever, we went downstairs to hang out in our building lobby. We weren’t the only ones. We met a guy that had arrived in Baltimore Thursday night — moved here from Birmingham, Alabama, to temporarily live with his parents while he gets on his feet. Emily gives more of the story on her blog, but I was able to connect with him on several levels, encourage him, and talk a little about spiritual things. Meanwhile, Emily met a grad-student from the Middle East who loves kids and connected with Katie — again Emily tells the story on her blog.

On Sunday morning, we continued our bi-weekly habit of having church in our apartment with our neighbor and LifeChurch.tv. After the service, we were able to talk through her career and how she can make the most of opportunities she has to bring people One Step Closer to Jesus. She said our conversation was extremely helpful and will give her a lot to think about in using opportunities without risking her professional status. I told her, “You’re a counselor, you understand this concept, but always be thinking in Next Steps. It’s as true for the spiritual life as it is for recovery.”

On Sunday afternoon, a large percentage of our apartment building spent the afternoon in the parking lot digging out our cars. I wore myself out digging out both cars. (See how mine started here.) In the process, I was able to have some basic conversations with a guy digging his car out two spaces over. Additionally, I was able to talk about marriage, church, family, and jobs with one of our neighbors. I am confident we both left the conversation encouraged.

We still have a long way to go in really making a lasting impact in the lives of people in this community. But we have made progress and continue to improve.

How are you making the most of your opportunities this week?

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