Opportunity seems to be my word of the moment; an opportunity that we face, and an opportunity that we are creating.
Some of you will remember the ghastly talent show that ran years ago called Opportunity Knocks. In fairness it was the launch pad for a lot of careers but it was also the place to watch some really terrible acts. It was like Britain’s Got Talent without the joy of Piers Morgan or Simon Cowell! Anyway like all talent shows the idea was that there was an opportunity for people to become stars through the votes of the public.
How do you know when opportunity comes knocking on your door? Just because something becomes possible, how do you know that it’s wise, or the right thing to do at that time? There are many great Christian heroes of the past but alongside them are others who exert strong and godly influence but who may not get books written about them. It has been my privilege to have met several people that would fall into that category. One of them was Douglas McBain, one of the most significant figures in Baptist church life in the latter part of the 20th Century. When I met him, Douglas was the equivalent of today’s Regional Minister for the London area. As such Spurgeon’s College students were his responsibility and he was there to help us find out which churches God wanted us to serve in.
Douglas addressed us once about pastoral leadership and he said that the most important spiritual gift for any minister was not the gift of teaching or pastoral care but the gift of discernment. Discernment is about knowing
whether something is a prompting, an opportunity from God or a distraction from the evil one.
We have prayed since we first moved in that the rest of the site would be ours. When the possibility arose that we might be given the opportunity to buy the rest of the site I had to ask whether this was from God or a distraction
from the evil one. Get this decision wrong and it could haunt us for years. If this is how the Lord is directing us and we don’t take the opportunity then we might never get that opportunity again. Find ways to buy it when we are not supposed to and we could be investing a lot of very precious resources into a white elephant. Either of those could cripple the church as we go forward.
Quite simply we need to pray for discernment in this situation. We need a burning conviction of the right thing to do. If it is right to go ahead then we need to know where the resources must come from in order to make it possible. Please pray with me for clear discernment as to God’s will for us.
The second thing on my mind is the opportunity that we are creating – the Children’s and Youth Internship. This is not simply to have more feet on the ground when Garry goes for training, it is a genuine opportunity to invest in the life of a young person and give them experience in leadership. Please pray for the right person to answer our advert and come forward. Please pray also for Garry as he moves forward with the Ministerial Recognition Committee.
What scriptures come to mind right now that might guide us? I keep being directed back to Isaiah 54:2;
Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.
God’s plan for us may be more radical than we can even imagine.
Yours in Christ