Looking for Opportunity

Acts 13:13-25
13Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem,
14but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down.
15After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent a message to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, say it.”
16So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said: “Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen.
17The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it.
18And for about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness.
19And after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance.
20All this took about 450 years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet.
21Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
22And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’
23Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised.
24Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
25And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’

This read through Acts is opening up a thought for me that is becoming increasingly solid. It isn't profound or new. It's just clearer than it was before and I am enjoying a new freedom that it brings. I believe that as we walk around in this world we are granted an incredible number of opportunities to share the love of Jesus with those around us. And those opportunities are not created by us but by God. We just need to be available when given the chance to speak.

Paul is working that principle in our reading for today as he goes to the synagogue like any good Jewish man would. He doesn't stand up and demand to be heard and try to create a witnessing opportunity. No, he appears in the crowd and waits to be asked to speak. But when given that chance, he is prepared with a message. Peter speaks of just such occurrences in his letter to the church.

1 Peter 3:14-16
14But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,
15but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
16having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

In Paul's words at the synagogue we find this principle in action. He was there and he was ready. He didn't create the situation but he pounced on the opportunity. What this stirs in me is a desire to continually look around and pay attention. These witnessing chances have been there all along and it crushes my heart to know how many I've probably let pass through negligence or laziness. But God's Word changes a heart and that is what is happening in me. It's time to pay attention and let God work in the situations He creates.

Holy Spirit, please keep my eyes wide open as You provide chances for me to love another person and to share the Gospel. Amen.