April 20, 2021
Making the Most of Every Opportunity
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10 ESV).
Friend to Friend
When my children were young, most mornings I walked them across the street to our local neighborhood park. Sometimes we returned in the afternoon for one more push on the swing. With a preschooler, a toddler, and a baby in diapers I had my hands full. Though I had a flip phone shoved into my overloaded diaper bag, I never heard it ring. It was a point of contention in our marriage. “Why do you even have a phone?” my husband asked. “You never answer it.” The simple answer was that I didn’t have a free hand. And I didn’t keep it in my pocket because I didn’t want to be distracted. The needs around me were too immediate.
Though I was busy interacting with my kids, I also discovered that the park had become my personal mission field. Sure, I was pushing my kids on swings and catching them at the end of the slide, but I was also talking with my neighbors. Sometimes I’d bring my camera—the one that used actual film— and take pictures of my neighborhood friends with their children. A few days later I’d see these moms again and give them an envelope with half a dozen photos of them playing with their kids. Tearfully, they’d throw their arms around my neck saying they didn’t have any pictures of themselves with their children. Once my new friends felt good and loved, I’d invite them to join me for the mom’s group at our local church just two blocks down the street. On Thursday mornings, a group of us would meet at 8:45, and then push our strollers down the road to Bethany Church.
Over the years I watched a couple of my friends from the park come to faith, then lead their husbands to faith, and end up raising children in the faith. I can’t imagine the park-conversations (or ultimately the incredible harvest) I might have missed if I’d had my phone in my hand rather than my camera.
Ephesians 2:10 tells us that God created us for good works that He prepared in advance for us to find and walk in. He didn’t just make us for random good works. He intentionally designed unique and specific good works for each of us and then gave us opportunities to serve and love in our homes, our local communities, and this great big world. Every single day is a treasure hunt to find those good works.
In Matthew 22:36, Jesus tells us clearly that the most important commandment is to “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” I want to live this way, loving God and loving others, but the reality is I’m often distracted—distracted by the busyness of life and all the virtual rabbit holes I lose myself in for hours each day.
Our neighbors are everywhere, and they are everyone we come in contact with each day. When we lift our eyes, eager to discover each appointed and anointed good work the Lord has prepared for us to walk in, we will find them! Let’s actively, lovingly pursue the people in our paths today.
Dear God, You made us to love You and to love others. You prepared us for good works, good conversations, good eye contact, and generous smiles. You set us free to humbly interact with those around us, purposefully pursuing them just as you have patiently pursued us. Holy Spirit, give us the eyes to see those who are in need of our loving attention today.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
How might keeping your phone tucked away in your pocket or purse allow you to lift your eyes and see all the potential good works right in front of you?
More from the Girlfriends
Consider taking a 40 Day Social Media Fast. Exchange your distractions for real-life devotion to God and others. Find out more at 40daysocialmediafast.com
© 2021 by Wendy Speake. All rights reserved.