15Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Today has 1,440.
Every year has 525,600.
The typical life has 39,420,000.
Every minute of every day of every year of every typical life is an opportunity. Every opportunity is a chance to grow into more, or shrink into less. Some opportunities are divine and some are not. Some opportunities are Satan’s attempts to get us off track. Satan wants to mislead us as much as God was to lead us.
Knowing not every opportunity is a good opportunity, Paul warns, “Be very careful, then, how you live.” Make good choices. Seek the Lord. Seek the lost. Redeem the times.
My son, Sylas, is preparing for summer baseball. One thing his coach will probably say at some point this season is, “Ducks on the pond!”
This saying is typically used by the coach when cheering on a hitter to drive in a few runs. The Baseball Journal notes, “It can be said in a state of relief (We finally got some ducks on the pond) or in a situation where runs are needed (Let’s go! You got some ducks on the pond!). Either way, you know that there are runners on base who are ready to cross home plate and score some runs. They don’t want to be stranded in the field.”
It’s about seizing an opportunity.
Paul’s correct: “The days are evil” and the nights will one day never end in the place prepared for those who choose to embrace evil opportunities and reject divine ones. Paul is writing to Christians who, in their former reality outside of Christ, were “darkness” (Eph. 5:8). Notice, Paul doesn’t say they lived in darkness; he says that they “were once darkness” (emphasis mine). Choosing to embrace opportunities for evil transforms us from light into darkness incarnate. Opportunities for evil are as equally abundant as opportunities for good, but those who choose to do good are few. Affirming this, Jesus said, “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Mt. 7:13, 14).
Quoting the Prophet Isaiah, Paul writes, “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Eph. 5:14). Paul wants these Christians to wake up to the reality that the ducks are on the pond! They are standing at the plate and there are runners in scoring position.
We are standing at the plate.
Each day divine opportunities come our way and we have a choice. We can choose to make the most of every opportunity, or we can choose to make excuses. Each divine opportunity is a step on a path that leads us to the center of God’s will. Each divine opportunity comes with love—true love—so we are not forced to seize any or all opportunities. Unaccepted opportunities will disappear into our past like mile-markers in our rear-view mirror, but each divine opportunity we accept makes Heaven more real and worth the journey.
It’s been said that, “Opportunity only knocks once.” This is an idiom that means that you only get one chance to achieve what you really want to do. I think only idiots believe this idiom.
I think God immerses us in opportunities. I think He surrounds us with opportunities. I think He daily sends opportunities to our door—occasionally, we hear the knock; rarely, we open the door; and almost never do we recognize opportunity for who He really is.
We say things like:
“You must have the wrong house.”
“I’m not going to accept that—it costs too much.”
“You want the guy next door.”
“I’m not ready. Can you come back later?”
“That’s too nice. That can’t be for me. You must be looking for the person down the street.”
I don’t think the problem is a lack of opportunity, but the inability to recognize opportunity when it’s standing on your front porch.
That’s why coaches yell things like, “The ducks are on the pond!”
This is essentially what the Apostle Paul is doing in this passage. It’s as if he’s saying, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, because the ducks are on the pond!”
What about you?
Can you recognize opportunity when it’s knocking on your door?
What do you see when your wife is on the front porch and she’s asking you to come home early from work so you can talk?
What do you see when your son is on the front porch asking you to play catch after dinner?
What do you see when a co-worker is on the front porch admitting trouble in his marriage and asking you if you have time to talk?
What do you see when that homeless guy is on your front porch—again—asking if there’s anything you can do to help?
What do you see when your neighbor is on your front porch asking you to explain to her the reason for the hope you have?
Looks to me like the ducks are on the pond.
So, you better not strike out.
©2016 Arron Chambers