“…making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).
I believe that this verse should always be before the eyes of every missionary. What does it mean to make the most of every opportunity? We may not like to think that the days are evil, and it’s true that it is wonderful to work in God’s vineyard. Still we make the most of every opportunity because people need the Lord so desperately.
I remember visiting a Jewish man named Vladislav. He was in his sixties. During my first visit we talked about how human nature has been spoiled by sin. I gave him a Bible printed in large type. When I visited him for the second time, he was ready to be reconciled with God, through Yeshua. After he prayed the sinner’s prayer, I saw a light igniting in his eyes.
When I called Vladislav two weeks later, I was told that he had passed away. Did I know that he would pass away soon? No, I didn’t—I was taken completely by surprise. Did I know that he needed Yeshua? Yes, I did!
When I first called Vladislav, I introduced myself and offered to talk with him. He thanked me for calling, but said he wasn’t interested. I’ve learned that while people aren’t always glad to see or to listen to us, it doesn’t mean we have to stop trying. So, in three weeks I decided to try calling Vladislav one more time, and that’s when he agreed to meet with me.
Planning our time is good, but we have to remember that some things are beyond our control. “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that’” (James 4:13-15).
God entrusted a great mission to us and His will is that we accomplish His mission. But some days are evil indeed. Sometimes the weather gets very bad, sometimes we get sick, and sometimes we are drowning in routine and losing the precious time. When it comes to the time, it is important to be alert.
Back in the day, the apostles believed that Yeshua was coming back soon, so they were fully committing their lives to Him. They lived each day as if it was their last day. Today, when God’s second coming is actually nearer, we don’t spend all our time accomplishing His great mission. We want to arrange our priorities and we find it easy to make excuses.
People are passing away every day. We have to bring the gospel in time. Of course, there are many other things we have to do in time, but what is really important for us, for the Lord? The battle for souls won’t be over until the last day. That’s why, dear friends, we need to plan our time to make the most of every opportunity!
Editor’s note: December is a month of stepped-up evangelism in our branches throughout the world. Some of our most fruitful evangelism takes place in the former Soviet Union, where living conditions are far more difficult than in many of our other branches. Pray for all of our missionaries, but this month, please especially remember those in Ukraine and Russia. Our brother Igor Spivak (Kharkov) captures the sense of urgency that characterizes our staff in the FSU, an urgency that should keep all of us believers from becoming complacent.