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January 10, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”—Ephesians 5:15–16 (NIV)
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”—Colossians 4:5 (NIV)
Since the start of the pandemic this spring, numerous memes have circulated on social media about what an awful year 2020 has turned out to be. From the global shutdown to social unrest, heated political battles to natural disasters, it seems even the world characterizes these days as evil.
As Christians, Paul instructs us as to how we should live in light of the times we’re in. He urges us to be careful and to be wise in the way we relate to those who aren’t Christians. But what does that look like, practically speaking? How do we conduct ourselves and “make the most of every opportunity” in a world gone mad?
First, we can recognize that as difficult and tragic as the pandemic, racial tensions, and natural disasters have been, they also represent tremendous opportunities for us to share the love of Jesus to those in our communities. However, with everything that’s going on, it can often feel overwhelming and, if we’re honest, we sometimes experience compassion fatigue or get caught up in all the drama happening around us—and we miss opportunities, rather than make the most of them.
Bible commentator David Guzik helps put today’s passage from Ephesians into perspective: “Paul isn’t telling us to make the most of every moment, even though that is good advice. He tells us to seize the opportunity for the glory of Jesus. It isn’t to make the most of time, but to make the most of the time. It is a definite season of opportunity that Christians must redeem.”
In other words, it’s not that we need to be so busy doing good that we burn ourselves out, but rather, to be sensitive to the Spirit’s gentle knocking on our heart’s door to those unique moments to touch even just one person in Jesus’ name.
But the best example I can give of how to follow Paul’s advice in these verses is to look to our church leadership. During one of the most difficult seasons we’ve faced as a church, Pastor Doug and our other campus pastors have demonstrated how to walk with wisdom and humility, being mindful of the message we convey to a watching world through our words and actions. By keeping our campuses closed to protect the most vulnerable in our communities, directing resources to feed those who were out of jobs, and holding online services in which they discussed sensitive issues such as race, they’ve shown us how we can walk in wisdom and seize the opportunities in these last days to bring glory to Jesus.
Let’s thank God for their example and continue to pray for our leaders!
PAUSE: How do you interpret the times that we’re living in right now? Do you see mostly obstacles or opportunities? Read Proverbs 17:27-28, James 1:5, and Psalm 90:12. What do these verses say about wisdom, and how we can apply them to our lives in these difficult times?
PRACTICE: If you’re filled with anxiety or fear over the “evil days” we’re experiencing, take a moment to pray and ask God to fill you with His peace and to grant you wisdom so you can make the most of the opportunities in these challenging times—and then give Him glory for the outcome.
PRAY: Father, help us remain firmly planted in You in these evil days. Give us Your strength, peace, wisdom, and compassion for the lost. I pray as Titus 2:12–13 (NIV) says, that we would “live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”