SIMPLE TRUTH: A brief window of opportunity

Published 3:12 pm Tuesday, March 25, 2014

By Charles Christmas

The wedding date and place for my youngest grandson was this past Jan. 11 in Kansas City. Knowing the uncertainty of January weather in Clanton, Memphis, St. Louis and Kansas City, I had asked the Lord for a window of opportunity in the weather to enable me to drive this 800-mile plus trip on Thursday, Jan. 9. You remember the single-digit weather with snow and ice on this proposed route as we approached Jan. 9. But on that date a window in the weather was opened, and although we had to follow the tracks of 18-wheelers in slush a large part of the way, my daughter and I drove from Memphis to Kansas City safely on that one day. And we thanked God for the brief window of opportunity and safe travel.

Through the workings of God, Ezra, the priest, had brought a small contingent of others captives back from Babylon to Jerusalem in Judea, which had been left in ruins by invading enemies. They had come with the desire and intention to repair and rebuild. Faced with all the problems involved with this insurmountable task, Ezra spoke the following words to his followers and other Jews left living among the ruins. “But now, for a brief moment God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and a little relief in our bondage. God has not deserted us in our situation. He has given us new life to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins” (Ezra 9:8-9).

The writer and readers of this article must make a personal application of “a brief window of opportunity.” Let’s consider personal facts from Ezra’s words. Each is faced with brief windows of opportunity. Our open windows of opportunity are provided by our gracious and loving God. With our open windows of opportunities also come problems and personal weaknesses. God will not desert us by his presence and will provide our needs. We have open windows to build, rebuild and repair. God will give us “new life” to be successful with our brief windows of opportunity.

The brevity of the window of opportunity was a great personal challenge to action for our Lord Jesus. He said, “I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work” (John 9:4). Jesus challenged others to action because of the brevity of the window of opportunity. “Do not say, ‘four months more and then the harvest.’ I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35). The Apostle Paul often said, “Be wise and make the most of every opportunity” (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5).

What is your brief window or windows of opportunity? Maybe it’s to spend time with your child or children as a young adult father. Is it as a student with your opportunity to do your best at whatever level of education preparation for your future? Is it as a single youth or adult faced with the choice and preparation for a future life mate? Is it the opportunity to show love, give time and provide encouragement for your spouse; or to have influence as a grandparent upon a grandchild; or as a teacher to influence students; or to choose your life’s vocation? Maybe it’s the brief window of opportunity to share your saving testimony and the gospel with someone for whom you are concerned. Maybe you are facing retirement with a window of choosing how you are now going to give your retirement years to the Lord. Maybe you are an older senior citizen like me and you know that window is really brief and you desire to finish well and serve the Lord to the fullest to the last breath. Do your own personal serious thinking about your brief window of opportunity or opportunities.

Maybe you are not sure you are saved and therefore not ready for this life, nor for the life beyond now. For you, your brief window of opportunity should be a high motivation. Jesus said, “While you have light, believe so that you might be children of the light.”

—Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Thursday.