The belief that someone—government, society, family, church—is obligated to give us everything blinds us to opportunities.
Opportunity means work, effort, sweat, and sacrifice. So it’s easier to complain of its lack than it is to roll up the sleeves and get our hands dirty.
On Facebook a brother from another state complained: “The church ought to be like a body, with each one doing his part, but unfortunately the majority of members lately are lazy and want a few members to do everything.”
Maybe he was right. His comment, apparently directed at his congregation, might have some general application. There may be different factors from one congregation to another. Certainly, there is the cultural factor. That is, our societal values invest in a few people the responsibility of so-called leadership.
I answered the brother that many times the “members,” as he called them, are taught to be passive. Some models of ministry, unbiblical models, of course, cultivate passivity in the body of Christ. Paternalism, for example, feeds dependence and inertia. Such approaches block the vision for opportunity.
Paul the apostle thought that many opportunities existed before us when he told us to “use every opportunity you have for doing good” (Ephesians 5:16a ERV). His reason for such close attention to these opportunities? “For the days are evil.” Opportunities don’t last forever. They get squashed by the devil.
Paul looked for and asked prayers for many opportunities to appear. “Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ” (Colossians 4:3 NLT). The open door he desired could appear through united prayer.
When he was in Ephesus, he thought he had many opportunities also. “For a great door is opened to me, filled with opportunities and many opponents” (1 Corinthians 16:9 ABPE).
Note that last verse, “filled with opportunities,” in the midst of much opposition. Perhaps here we find the key. We want opportunities without difficulties. Success without stress. And we’ll never find them.
After all, Jesus’ success carried him to the cross. Why do we think that our opportunities will cost less?