It’s been a while since we have been in touch so you may have forgotten that we have looked so far in this mini-series at
T – Tortoises and togetherness
E – Exploring new ways to Encourage Elasticity in the Ekklesia were looking at:
A – The power of Acceptance
Now, as we reach the letter M, we are going to consider something that our retriever dogs would undoubtedly relate to: ‘Making the most of every opportunity.’ (Col. 4:5)
Making the most of every opportunity means committing to prayer situations that need turning around and leaving no stone unturned in terms of following up specific nudges and possible leads. Why not turn that thought into a prayer now?
It’s so important to be eager to discover God’s best for our lives, and flexible enough to go the extra mile whenever and wherever you sense His Spirit beckoning. As Moses said to the Israelites, “Wait here until . . . [you] receive instructions from the LORD.” (Num. 9:8)
God often gives us (to quote Bamber Gascoigne in the early days of University Challenge) ‘a starter for ten’ to get us looking and praying in a particular direction.
I remember an occasion well over thirty years ago when I was standing in a car park, and was asking the Lord who I should go and visit next, and He simply said, “Follow your nose!” I duly worked out my angles and paid a visit to the only person I could think of who lived in the direction I was facing. It was the most special time, leading to a long-term friendship that continues to this day.
Or another occasion when, as I was falling asleep, the Lord He gave me a vision of someone crying out, “I’m so lonely.” I asked the Lord who it was, and He gave me an address at the other side of the city. I went and knocked on the door – only to find that it was vacant! So I knocked on the flat next door, and there was the person I had seen in my dream, and who was ready to open her heart to the Lord.
We have had countless such experiences and episodes since then, as we have sought to be sensitive to the Lord’s leadings and urgings: but just as both these tales involved me going literally out of my way, so expect His leading to do the same for you!
Making the most of every opportunity means going out of our way to reach out to people whose gifting or ministry has yet to see the light of day.
It is so easy in the pastoral ministry to have our timetable dictated for us by people who impose themselves and their needs on us, eating up great swathes of our time in the process. This might pander to our sense of being needed, but it can effectively prevent us from reaching out to potentially more strategic people, who (though they might be reluctant to impose themselves on us), yet prove highly responsive when we go out of our way to invest in their lives. Many of them will turn out to have a really significant ministry.
‘Listen, my people, and I will speak’ (Ps. 50:7)