In football, when players move in specific patterns, small windows are created in which the quarterback can throw the ball through. In auto racing, a small window will open for a brief amount of time to pass the car ahead. In boxing, once the opponent throws a punch, a momentary window opens for a counterpunch. Life is similar – everyday, we have small, short-lived windows in which to do certain things. What are these opportunities and what do we do with them?
“We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:4) These words of Jesus remind us of an inescapable reality: life on this earth is short and time is precious. There will be a day when we can no longer work to bring the light of Jesus into the world. What are we doing with our window of daylight? Paul the apostle reminds us, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.” (Colossians 4:5) As we consider each person in our life right now, are we working the works of Jesus in their life?
“All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Isaiah 40:6-8) It’s hard to admit, but we’re withering and fading; so are all the people around us. It’s not just our bodies that are withering like grass, but our windows to share God’s truth with people are slipping away, too. God sees the urgency, as well, saying in Isaiah 55:6, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near…” If a quarterback doesn’t take advantage of an open window, it’s gone forever. There will be other plays later in the game, but that specific chance is gone. Likewise, the chances we have today to minister to hurting people are unique to the here and now.
Great athletes recognize opportunities and react; the ones who fail to act always lose. An indecisive race car driver will never make his way to the head of the pack. The Bible warns us, “He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4) If we see windows of opportunity for God to get glory, but we hem and haw about taking action, we’ll never sow or reap seeds for God’s kingdom to grow. “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16) Perhaps Paul is telling us here to use our time efficiently because, with an evil world, there are plenty of opportunities to do God’s work. Even Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” (Luke 10:2)
We’ve all missed open windows to get a victory for Christ, just like boxers miss several chances in a fight to deliver a big punch. A good athlete will acknowledge his or her missed opportunity and even study the mistake, to prevent it from happening again. We must look to the next opportunity, for “…his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…” (Lamentations 3:22-23)