Several times throughout Paul’s writings, he references open doors – opportunities that the Lord made available to him during his ministry (I Cor. 16:9, II Cor. 2:12, Col. 4:3). As praying Christian women, whether we use the phrase or not, we often pray for open doors. We pray for job openings when seeking employment, we pray for doctors and appointments with specialists when seeking treatment for loved ones, and hopefully, like Paul, we pray for opportunities to teach lost souls and share the gospel (Col. 4:2-3). After we pray for these things, then what? We know that God doesn’t work, providentially, on our timeline. We know that He answers according to His will, which at times is “no”, even though (in our humanity) we were hoping for “yes”. Sometimes, however, the door may be wide open, and we just miss it! Particularly concerning seeking the lost, consider these reasons why we may miss opportunities.
I close my eyes.
Of course my eyes aren’t physically closed, but they might be blinded by the busyness of life. My heart is in the right place because I’m seeking opportunities, but I don’t seem them because I’m distracted. Somewhere along the line, we’ve learned to equate increased busyness (particularly in good, spiritual activities) with elevated faithfulness. Yet, Psalm 46:10 tells us where to find God; in the stillness. Could it be that opportunities to share the Gospel are more easily seen in the stillness, as well?
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It doesn’t fit with my plan.
I often wonder if Paul was a planner, or if after so many twists and turns in his life, he just learned to go with the flow. It’s interesting the number of times he wrote of his wishes and hopes to visit a certain person or tarry in a certain place. Yet, we know that things didn’t always turn out just the way he wanted. The open doors that Paul prayed for, and took, didn’t always align with his desires, but they lead to the path where the most good could be accomplished. When I pray for opportunities to teach lost souls, am I (as a planner) truly willing to lay aside my schedule and aspirations?
I’m looking for the easiest road.
Often times we equate the best path with the easiest path. “Of course this is what God wants, because I didn’t have to jump through any hurdles”, we reason. Yet, Paul, clearing seeking to do the will of the Lord, recognized a wonderful opportunity in I Corinthians 16:9 that contained “many adversaries”. It may be that easy paths lead to wonderful occasions to share the gospel, and we should certainly take them. But, how many times have I overlooked a soul-saving opportunity because there were a few obstacles in the way?
The future of the church is dependent upon us doing our duty today; planting and watering the seed in the hearts of lost souls. As we prayerfully search for these open doors, may we each have the willingness and discipline to open our eyes, adjust our plans, and jump over hurdles! God is for us. Let’s not let ourselves get in the way. Don’t miss the open doors.
by Kathryn Baker
Kathryn is married to Andy Baker who preaches for the Maud church of Christ in Maud, TX. She stays at home with their 3 children. In her spare time, she enjoys food (both cooking and eating!), gardening, and taking their Boston terrier for walks.