Make the Most of Every Opportunity

Just back from our trip to Haiti and there are so many stories to tell and my intent is to let the team share them with you, but I would like to share this one with you. On our first morning after arriving in Haiti, we set out in the bus for a tour of the various communities Hope Missions Outreach is involved in (it’s about a 30 mile drive from where we stay to the Mission of Hope).
Well after about fifteen miles, the diesel motor on our 1954 model bus ran hot and quit running. Now, in Haiti when your vehicle stops running there is really no place to pull over, so you just stop right in your lane of traffic. The driver tried several times to restart the bus, but it wouldn’t start. I could tell immediately that the anxiety level on the bus was beginning to rise; here we are in the middle of a Haitian community on a bus with a driver who doesn’t speak English. Those walking by seemed to glare at us while oncoming traffic honked their horns as they sped around us.
I’m sure the overwhelming feeling on the bus, including me was, what do we do now, although after our morning devotions everyone was confident that “God is faithful.” Well it wasn’t long when our mission trip host shouted to Mike Sherman, our lead evangelism leader, that right outside the bus was an opportunity to visit with some men who were sitting by their home at the edge of the road.
Soon, Mike and a few others (including our very own budding evangelist, Bailey Stratton) hopped off the bus and shared the gospel with the men. The rest of us stayed on the bus, some praying for the men to be saved and many others praying that God would rescue us from our frightening situation.
The situation reminded me of the story found in Colossians 4. Paul finds himself in prison, more than likely chained to a prison guard—a situation you would think would cause high anxiety—surely a frightening situation worthy of asking God to deliver him, right? And yet how does he want the Colossians to pray for him? “Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. Don’t forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the mystery of Christ, even while I’m locked up in this jail. Pray that every time I open my mouth I’ll be able to make Christ plain as day to them. Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out” (Colossians 4:2-6).
What amazes me is that Paul doesn’t pray to get out of his troubling situation; no he wants to make the most of his circumstances. He’s more interested in how he could use this inconvenient and uncomfortable situation to share the gospel.
And so it should be with you and me, we face many situations in our lifetime we don’t necessarily like, and yet how can we make the most of every opportunity to advance the kingdom of God. As Mike wisely said when he got back on the bus, “It’s in the midst of inconvenient situations where ministry most often happens.” May you and I bring glory to God by making the most of every opportunity to share the gospel.
And by the way, it just so happened one of the men sitting there knew just enough English to help interpret and therefore one of the young men Mike shared the gospel with gave his life to following Jesus.  Glory to God!
Laboring for the harvest,  Mike

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