Eph 5:15-17 "Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is."
At one point I was the only ordained UK church minister living in Nepal. The only reason I know this is because the British Embassy contacted me and informed me and as such required my assistance in an official capacity.
The British Embassy organised a lavish Carol service each year for dignitaries, staff and any expats living in Nepal. It was a very posh affair. I would like to say that I immediately accepted the invitation, but I wavered. I really struggled with the whole scenario. I began to doubt myself; my lack of education; my upbringing on a council estate in Sheffield and then, worst of all, there was my accent - broad Yorkshire - no-one would even understand me! I was convincing myself that I was just not the right person; not clever enough, not qualified enough. How many times have you thought the same?
The word that turned the tide on my thinking was, ‘opportunity’. I knew this moment would never come again, and in my spirit I kept hearing the phrase, “come on Steve, you’re my ambassador”. Well, that was enough for me. I accepted the invitation and on the night of the carol service the American, Japanese, Pakistani and British Ambassadors, to name a few, we all there sat on the front row! Hundreds of people were present in the opulent surroundings of the British Embassy with string quartet playing in the background.
I lead the service, preached and did the best I could. Shaking hands after the British Ambassador said to me, ‘how refreshing, I never heard it done like that before’. Did lots of people become followers of Jesus? No. But here’s the thing, I knew that I had made the most of the opportunity and boy, did that feel good as I sipped my alcohol-free champagne!
A couple of months later an old lady responded to a call I gave for folk to become Christians during the International Church service we held in Kathmandu. After the service I found out that the little old lady was the mother of the American Ambassador.
Paul says, “Be very careful then how you live….”. We need to bewise and be alert today becauseGod will supply us with the opportunity to be his voice, hands or feet, but it is up to us to do something with it.