The Bible talks about “making the most of every opportunity.” In that particular context it is talking about allowing one’s faith to be evident as often as the opportunity presents itself. I have learned that the “perfect” opportunity rarely happens and that every moment is an opportunity for our faith to reveal itself.
Often we think of “divine appointments” as those seen in the Bible, especially the one in John 4 where the Samaritan woman comes to the well midday for water. We know that Jesus knew she’d be there, but the disciples certainly didn’t. There was nothing divine, in their eyes, about this meeting. They saw her presence as an interruption. OF COURSE she was an interruption! She interrupted their lunch and their plans to move on, out of Samaria. Only Jesus, the Divine One, saw this interruption as an opportunity.
An interruption is only an opportunity when God shows up. What if it had been Thaddeus or Peter who had met the woman at the well. Would they have talked with her? Would they be so focused upon their pending lunch that they would ignore her like everyone else did? Would they have listened to the Holy Spirit, like Jesus did, to know what was going on in this woman’s life? Would they have even offered to help or requested help from her? No, they wouldn’t have because at that point they did not see the normal occasions of life, which are almost always interruptions, as opportunities to show God’s love and kindness.
If we wait for the perfect or the divine opportunity to show God’s love, we will miss every opportunity every time. This doesn’t mean that we speak of our faith at every moment regardless of what is going on. That is what Jesus condemned the Pharisees for. It is what the Church has done to the world with little effect. It’s what most of those street corner preachers do to the annoyance of everyone.
What we can do is show our faith through our attitudes and our actions. Faith isn’t just about the propositions we hold. It is about the truth and love of God lived out, in and through us as his daughters and sons. If we truly embraced who were are as children of God, co-heirs with Christ, then people will see the difference even before we open our mouths. Our actions, our compassion, our empathy, our listening will open the doors that our words – or the words of Christians of the past – hurled indiscriminately have closed. Our words will then have meaning and import.
So let me ask you, are your actions and attitudes toward the world ones that attract people or do they repel? Do you distract people with your vehement need to be right while the love of God gets trashed by your words? Are you more Pharisee than disciple? Are you more American than Christian? Are you living out your life as God’s child, bearing his name and identity like it was part of your DNA, or do you wear it like a coat that you can take on and off at will?
Are you seeing interruptions? Or are you seeing opportunities?