Opportunities – Seeing with your Heart and MindÂ
There are many opportunities met on a daily basis to witness and have a great influence on our surroundings. Seeing theseÂ opportunities howeverÂ take more than a pair of eyes it takes our heart, mind, and awareness of these surroundings to be effective.
When I teach beginning photography students one of the first lessons is that the student must learn to do more than look, they must see and really they must seek seeing the opportunities that are all around them. Today’s society is so filled with images and the fast paced business of life that really seeing the world is so often missed. We generally begin that first class with just walking and seeing the surrounding opportunitiesÂ for photographs that could be expanded upon if we slow down enough to see them.
Photography, probably more than any other art form,Â is oftenÂ discounted as the proverbial “anyone can take a picture” attitude because all you do is “push a button”. Anyone who has actually studied photography will attest that “pushing the button”Â is not what taking a photograph is about. A photographer may research and study their idea and then surroundings forÂ long periods of time before taking the first image. When on location they are actively seeing their surroundings with new eyes thinking about ways to conveyÂ not just what they see but what they feel into a different form. They move this three-dimensionalÂ ideaÂ into a two-dimensional form to help the outside world connect with their viewpointÂ ThereÂ isn’t just one image to take in photographic opportunities as there will be countless images taken in hopes that at least one will convey the original opportunity ideaÂ presentedÂ in an effective form to connect the viewer to this new way of seeing.
When the photographer isn’t activelyÂ engaged they are always seeking new opportunities byÂ having necessary materials and knowledge on hand. A photographerÂ must have their camera,Â explore new materials and techniques, study other photographers work, and always be ready to play the part of the photographer becauseÂ others are watching howÂ theyÂ see the world around them.
As we look to this week’s focus verse I felt that it paralleled the world of photography somewhat convincingly. Â Shouldn’t we, as witnesses for Christ, be very muchÂ like photographers looking for opportunities? Shouldn’t we be actively seeing the world around us using not only our eyes but our heart and mind taking all opportunities that present themselves to speak of Christ’s love for the world and the salvation offered to all? Shouldn’t weÂ also be ready if not to “push the button” be acting the part as others are watching our actions? This week’s focus verse is Colossians 4:5-6;
Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.
Let your conversations be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. (NLT)
Making the Most of Every Opportunity
Being a witness for Christ is often seen in a less than positive light in our very politically correct offend no one world but there are opportunities all around us without having to behave like Elijah onÂ the town square. This week’s verse simply tells us to live wisely, in other words your actions should speak louder than words. If we are witnesses for Christ then our lives should reflect such by our actions and reactions to others. Unfortunately many non-believers have turned away from Christ because they saw a proclaimed Christian in a weak moment and decided at that point they wanted nothing else to do with that Christian “business”. If we have a “Honk If You Love Jesus” bumper sticker on our car andÂ we are yelling road rage proverbs at less than stellar driversÂ we most likely are not setting a good example of following Christ.
Children are often the greatest way to determine how our behavior is seen. I will never forget being in the car one day trying to get somewhere in a timely manner and running into a traffic snarl. I came upon a driver that did some actionÂ in whichÂ I didn’t agree. I must have thrown my hands up in the air andÂ muttered something to the effect of “what is that idiot doing?” As we slowed down again to the next driver I watched in horror as my, then elementary, child threw their hands up in the air and yelled “what is that idiot doing?” It was an eye-opening experience in which I learned that I was setting the example that said it was ok for my child toÂ behave this wayÂ and if I didn’t want to see it reflected back then I better not set the example. If we think non-believers are not watching our actions and behaviors like we are bugs under a microscope then we are onlyÂ fooling ourselves.Â When and how we act or react we are showing the world our Christian values so it is important that they reflect correctly.
We must be careful not only in our actions but our words. We are to be ready with compassion and helpful ways for all people not just our friends and neighbors. We are to be an encouragement to all who not only see us but hear us. (Ephesians 5:15-16, Ephesians 4:29)
Thankfully we can arm ourselves for all opportunities justÂ like photographers being ready to see our surroundings. Our camera is bothÂ our heart and mind working together with our eyes.Â We must really see the world around us looking for opportunities having our eyes focused on Christ and our surroundings. We must study the Word consistently being ready with verse, prayer, and insight as opportunities may present themselves. We should practice our “techniques” at home where we often let our guard down and act correctly before we react from stress. We must meet with other believers with study and fellowship regularlyÂ in our local church, small groups, andÂ with mentorsÂ to make sure we are effective witnesses and have a group we can depend upon to help when we see a need arise. The world should see the hope of Christ in us and we should be ready to explain it. (1 Peter 3:15)
When we stand before the throne let it be said that weÂ captured at least one follower for Christ through the countless everyday opportunities in which we acted and spoke because that one will be precious in His sight.
Love in Christ,
Post Script I
Through our everyday opportunities let us not get discouraged when we failÂ with our own behaviors and or words but instead seek forgiveness and begin again remembering that weÂ like those in which we seek to witness to are human and because of the forgiveness Christ offers us we tooÂ must forgive those who offend us.
Post Script II
Happy Father’s Day! to all you fellows for whom this description fits remembering it takes more than the ability to be a father it takes character to set the example. Always lead with Christ-like character examples.
What are Your Thoughts?
How many everyday opportunities can you imagine yourself inÂ as aÂ witness for Christ? Do you have a witness story to share of an everyday opportunity? Are you preparing yourself for everyday opportunities that may arise? Please join us in discussion.