freedoms we enjoy, each person has the chance to prosper and succeed through hard work and
ingenuity. The basis for this ideal comes from our Declaration of Independence which proclaims,
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by
their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit
As Christians, we too have an abundance of opportunities; but instead of pursuing our own
rights, prosperity, and happiness, we have a higher calling. It’s summarized best in Luke 10:27,
“Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy
strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself”
Each day we have opportunities to demonstrate our whole-hearted devotion to God by
loving and caring for those around us. So many people are discouraged and burdened by the
hardships and hurts of life. They long for a listening ear and helping hand, but sometimes we’re
too busy to even notice, let alone sacrifice our time and effort to help.
To illustrate our responsibility-to care for our neighbors, Jesus told a story about a man
who was beaten and robbed on the way to Jericho (Luke 10:30-37). As he lay bleeding in the
road, two religious leaders came upon him. Instead of seeing the situation an opportunity
to help, they each saw the injured man as an obstacle and moved to the other side of the road. But a passing Samaritan felt compassion and was willing to interrupt his journey and expend
time, energy, and financial resources to help the hurting traveler.
What about you? How do you respond to the opportunities the Lord puts in your path?They often come suddenly and may seem like inconveniences, annoyances, or hindrances. But
to those who respond to them as God-given opportunities to demonstrate Christ’s love to
the hurting, there is great joy. You see, we’re always happier when we give our lives away by
helping others rather than living for ourselves.
The way we respond to opportunities reveals several things about us. First of all, it shows
whether Jesus is really the Lord of our lives (Phil. 2:3-5). If we’re too busy with our own plans
and desires, we’re not letting God be our Master. However, by listening to the promptings of
His Spirit and releasing control of our schedules and plans to Him, we’ll become sensitive to
the opportunities He gives throughout the day-whether it’s giving an encouraging word to a friend, compassionately listening to a stranger’s troubles, or sharing the gospel with someone who’s searching for meaning in life.
Secondly, the way we respond reveals our willingness to give. The opportunities God
provides are not always convenient. They may require that we leave our comfort zone or
give of our time, attention, effort, or finances to meet someone’s need. As Christians we’re
called to become like Christ, and He always had time for people. Although His days were
filled with interruptions, He never turned away those who needed His help. That’s because
He came to earth to serve, not to be served (Matt. 20:28). His only agenda was to do the
Father’s will each day.
Finally, our responses show whether we are using our spiritual gifts. Every believer
has a motivating gift, a special ability given by the Holy Spirit, with which to serve others
(1 Cor. 12:7). It could be the capacity to show mercy, a willingness to serve, or the desire to
offer encouragement. Whatever it is, as God provides occasions, we need to step up and use
these gifts to make a difference in someone else’s life.
This Independence Day, take time to thank the Lord for the freedoms He’s given us
in this land of opportunity. And don’t forget to pray for the brave men and women in the
military who risk their lives to maintain our freedom. Then consider how you can represent
Christ to a hurting world by taking time to listen to and help those in need. Ask the Lord
for discernment to identify the opportunities He provides and the courage to step into them.
My prayer is that you will discover the joy and blessing of becoming a Good Samaritan who
sees needy people as opportunities, not obstacles.
Bro. Les Wittle