It can be easy to hear the word “opportunity” framed as a great thing someone was given that allowed him or her to pursue something that would not have been possible otherwise. It also can be just as easy to hear someone complain about his or her current circumstances as a result of not being given an opportunity.
At the bottom line an opportunity is truly just a chance. That chance means we have a choice or a decision to make. If we do not act to make the choice or decision, we will forfeit our future because the lack of choice or decision becomes a future that is not of our own making. Sadly, it then can be easy to lament that we never had “an opportunity” to get the position, the education, the relational connection, and more.
It’s true that the number of opportunities we may have is greatly influenced by a long list of things including where we live, our family situation, our innate abilities, and more. We cannot ignore something in the midst of such a list, however. We still have a responsibility for the choices or decisions we make because our character will guide them as well as shape our character.
Many things influence what we believe, but we ultimately choose what we believe.
I am reminded of many examples to illustrate these points. Some of them you know well, but only I (or close family members) know others.
Noah was given an opportunity to be used to salvage mankind when God determined the evil on the earth had reached such proportions that Creation needed to be destroyed. When He told Noah the plan to destroy the earth by means of a flood when it had never rained, Noah may well have scratched his head. The idea of an ark must have sounded pretty crazy, but Noah took the opportunity, made the choice, risked humiliation, and his destiny to be remembered was sealed.
Joseph never stopped telling his brothers about his dreams and their jealousy and envy got the better of them. After they sell him he has the opportunity to feel sorry for himself and give up or look for an opportunity in less than ideal circumstances. In the midst of his slavery, he seems to have chosen to act in ways that made an opportunity for him to become the key man in charge of Potiphar’s house. His character was being shaped and molded so that when the test came at the hands of Potiphar’s wife’s attraction to him, he determined his destiny by fleeing from her sultry pursuit of him.
Abraham Lincoln was born into a poor home with what seemed to be few chances. His father was uneducated, but his mother was religious and taught Abraham and his siblings about the Bible. She thought education was important and when a school opened when Abe was seven years old, she made sure he had the opportunity to make the nine mile trip to be able to learn. That chance stirred in him a love of learning that shaped his life and destiny.
My father was the youngest of six children. His father died when he was only five years old. It didn’t deter his mother’s desire for him to become educated so he walked to school each day and loved what he learned there, but when he was 13 his older brother was killed when he fell from the barn roof. This brother had been handling all the farming duties and now it fell to my father (with the help of his uncles) to handle the farm for his mother and sisters. It meant he would need to leave school to do that, but he continued to read and learn with a determination that his children would have the opportunity for the education he didn’t have. He never earned a lot of money, but he made certain I had the opportunity to go to college and when I did so I became the first person in my family to earn a college degree.
These illustrations may have stirred your own memories of how opportunities have shaped your destiny. The key in each case was to avoid compromising integrity of character to act on the opportunity that came into the person’s life.
Each day is an opportunity for each of us. What will we do with those given to us?
When Frodo was lamenting the task that had fallen to him in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandolf tells him, “All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that has been given to us.”
“Because an opportunity isn’t an opportunity if you have to compromise your integrity. It’s the decisions when no one is looking that will dictate your destiny. In fact, your integrity is your destiny.” Mark Batterson
14 thoughts on “Opportunity: A Date With Destiny”
This is the second post I read to day that focused on taking advantage of the opportunities God places in our path. I am confidant that I need to ponder this word a little more. And Pam, you just bless my heart, thanks for the opportunity to read for your heart and to spend time with you as you journey with the Lord.
I love it when the Lord makes something so clear by more than one source speaking on the same or similar thing! What a gracious comment you blessed me with! I always enjoy visiting your site and hearing your heart and journey as well! I look forward to however the Lord may unite our hearts as we journey together!
Every day is an opportunity! True and I enjoyed reading how you have made it clear from different illustrations. I am a person who starts her day with a small gratitude and I have found by practice that when you thank the new opportunity you are getting with a new day you seem to get more and more of them. Happy New Year to You
Menaka Bharathi – The Blogger’s Pit Stop
Love this, Menaka! Sounds so on target!! Thanks!!
Hi, from your neighbor at #livefreethursday. I enjoyed reading this post. It is so beautiful to see the opportunities the Lord gives us in life. He works on our behalf in amazing ways. Thank you for sharing abour your dad. May the Lord refresh your soul as you follow the Lord on the path He has for you. Blessings, Cheryl
Thanks so much for taking time to read and respond to my post! He really is am amazing God, isn’t He? Blessings and Shalom to you!
Your words are great timing today as I have been challenging myself with what I believe lately. It is a choice to believe in the goodness of life and the goodness of God, and go for those desires He has for us. And not get caught up in excuses!
You’re so right, Lynn!!
“Many things influence what we believe, but we ultimately choose what we believe.” That is true, Pam. We can be intentional about what we’re believing and choosing to think about!
Always good to be refueled, refreshed, stretched here with you, Pam ….
This post was very inspiring in many ways. Love the story of Abraham Lincoln and stories like your dad. My dad has a similar story being one of five fatherless children in poverty and rising above the circumstances. In my dads situation and in Joseph’s’s situation bad decisions of others created opportunities within the providential direction of God for the saving of many. Joseph’s brothers bad decisions didn’t end his or their destiny. Joseph is the first to recognize this and he then tells his brothers reassuring them he will do good
To them after the passing of his father. Integrity is something to be valued supremely but when you have had a breach in integrity and stand soiled you can come home like the prodigal and you can know God in a closely humble and dependent way that you have never known. It’s happened to me. Certains door shut for me and might always be, but God started opening new doors and paths in his great mercy. I remember when He started doing that for me I was amazed that he still wanted to use me and wanted to love me. He never stops giving us opportunities to know him whether we made right choices or wrong choices we can still choose Him in the midst of them and be brought back close to his side. We may experience on going consequences but we will not receive ongoing condemnation from our God. Reconciliation with God is also an opportunity to display the glory of his grace against the backdrop of our own darkness. To show that nothing is impossible with God. Even the saving of me.
Inspiring post. Thank you
Thanks so much for all you have shared here. I am grateful the Lord blessed you through it and appreciate your testimony. Blessings on you!
I’m very happy reading this Pam! Men and hearts like your Father’s are rare to find.
Thanks for spurring my heart to continue to pursue God given dreams.
Happy New Year
I’m so glad, Ifeoma! Yes, all true! Shalom and blessings on your 2017!