From the movie Dead Poets Society or from Latin class in high school, most are somewhat familiar with the term, Carpe Diem or, as it is translated for ease: Seize the day! (It actually translates Pluck the day.) Dr. Jimmy Draper, one time SBC Pastor and then President of our SBC LifeWay Publishing and Distribution Company, used to share one of his dad’s sayings: The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized during the lifetime of the opportunity.
Unfortunately, many opportunities “die” without being seized! We are so busy, so out of touch and out of tune with our world, that the opportunities we have to make a difference are gone before we realize they were opportunities! Most generally, the “lifetime” of an opportunity is a mere passing moment, a brief encounter in which you can speak a word of encouragement, reach out to touch someone in need, or share the living hope of Christ Jesus with a hurting person. You thought about it…but as you thought, deciding to act or not to act, the opportunity died. It was gone forever most likely. An opportunity may make but one appearance in your life; so the question comes, will I be ready to seize it? The answer is found in a constant sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leading and in your being ready to slow down long enough to see and seize.
Most all of us have or have had regrets. We often say, “I wish I had done this or that, said this or that, shared this or that.” Yes, it might have been that piece of property that is now worth untold thousands that you passed on purchasing, or that investment that is off the charts that you could have made, but that is not exactly what I mean. More important are the opportunities we have to make an eternal impact in someone’s life, one opportunity seized might make a difference in where someone spends eternity, or how they view Christ, or His Word. Missing that opportunity could be, indeed, tragic. In order to seize the opportunity, one must see the opportunity. Our vision to see such opportunities is more a matter of the heart than of the eyes. The heart definitely effects what we see, who we see, and, how we see them.
First, take the opportunity to go to your knees, asking the Lord for better heart-vision that you might see opportunities, not just the passing scenery! Second, slow down and see what is before you and around you, who is close to you. Listen to what they are saying, really saying. Third, claim it if it’s there! That might mean an encouraging word, some act of kindness, or offering to help even if it’s not accepted–whatever the opportunity offers, claim it. Let every opportunity be one in which you display the character of your Lord Jesus.
Don’t have any regrets about missed opportunities minister. See it and seize it! Carpe occasio! (Closest Latin word for “opportunity,” our English word, occasion)