By Clifton Angel
Opportunity. The word comes from the Latin phrase "ob portus". "Ob" means "toward, or in the direction of. "Portus" means "port, harbor." It was a phrase used by ancient sailors who had to wait for just the right wind and tide conditions to direct their ships into the harbor. If they missed an opportune moment, it could mean a lot of waiting for the next one.
Paul writes, "Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time" (Colossians 4:5). The word translated "time" is not necessarily "clock time." It might better be translated as "opportunity" or "season." The word translated "redeem" is the idea of going into the marketplace and buying up the best deals. It makes me think of going into the store Bargain Hunt, or Essex. You're looking for the best deals you can ﬁnd. It also reminds me of my wife in the Kroger clearance aisle, buying up ALL the deals (Disclaimer: My wife approved this statement of jest). The ASV has a footnote at Colossians 4:5 that says, "buying up the opportunity."
Paul, how can we be sure to take advantage of the opportunities God affords us? Paul says, ”Walk in wisdom toward them that are without" (Colossians 4:5). To the church in Ephesus, he said it this way: "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15–16). Furthermore, "Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man" (Colossians 4:6). Therefore, if we expect to “buy up the opportunities” God gives us, we need: 1. Wisdom; 2. Preparation. Let us be growing in wisdom and preparation in our daily lives. Such requires that we rely on God and His Word. We must be praying (James 1:5; 5:16), studying (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16–17; James 3:17), and making application (James 1:22; 2:14–26; Ephesians 2:10). How do we speak to others? What words do we use? What do we say/share on social media platforms? Do we live in such a way that others see Christ in us, or is it difﬁcult making distinctions between Christians and the world?
Jesus said, "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work" (John 9:4). Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia, "Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:9–10).
Are we "buying up the opportunities" God gives us in our relationships with others
- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website: http://www.coldwatercofc.com/