21 Feb Window of Opportunity
Bill Gates was titled the wealthiest person in the world, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index in 2019. If you own any Microsoft technology, it is because of this fantastic entrepreneur that created software products such as Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, and Internet Explorer browsers. Bill Gates attributes his success to delegating, having an unquenchable desire to learn, and seizing every opportunity.
There is an exciting story that Bill Gates was interviewed by a journalist who asked a pertinent question. She asked, “Can you share your secret of success?” He answered by handing her a blank check asking her to write any amount that she desired on the check. Slightly confused and maybe a little offended, she handed the blank check back to Mr. Gates and asked again for him to share his secret to success. He responded by giving her the check still and asking her to fill in her desired amount. This time the journalist took the check and tore it up.
It was at this moment that the lesson that Bill Gates was trying to teach was spoken. He said, “The secret of my success is that I do not miss any opportunities like you just did. If you had that philosophy, you could have become the richest journalist in the world today.”
Wow! What a lesson learned!
Never Miss An Opportunity!
Before we can SEIZE opportunity, we need to RECOGNIZE it. In the above story, the journalist did not realize that she could have changed her future through a simple action. She had one of the wealthiest people in the world asking her to sign any amount on a personal check from him. Her response was rejecting the offer. Rather it was from offense or embarrassment; the opportunity was lost, torn into tiny pieces. Oh, how it would have been different if she had seized the opportunity! What bills could she have paid? She could have helped a loved one, friend, or stranger, or maybe a dream of hers would have bloomed into existence because of a gift from a wealthy entrepreneur. Who knows, perhaps he would have starred at her amount and chuckled and replied with a jovial heart, “You dream big!”
So how do we know when to grab the bull by the horns and just go for it! Here are five ways that can help you to recognize an opportunity when it comes knocking at your door.
- It sparks ideas.
- Lines up with your Core Values
- Provokes Passion
- It Carries its own momentum
- It creates legitimate discussions
And I will add a sixth, which I believe is the most important. God has given it to you.
So, If you recognize an opportunity, don’t let fear of failure, doubt, or lack of skills keep you from moving forward. Step out! Have Faith! Take Action!
Opportunity to be Obedient
“Obedience is the key ingredient in living out God’s plan for you,” Elizabeth George.
It is easy to ask God to direct our steps, but it can be challenging to act upon it, especially when we allow doubt to enter our thoughts, it is too hard, too soon, or we feel under-qualified. But obedience produces a powerful outcome.
The Roman centurion understood obedience.
He said, “All you have to do is speak the word, and it’ll be done, because not only am I a man under authority, but I have men under my authority, and if I tell them to do something, they’ll do it.” – Matthew 8: 8-9
The centurion had practiced and experienced the results of obedience. It was in the fabric of his daily living. He knew as one in authority and being under authority the importance of obedience. His actions to ask the Lord just to speak showed his faith that created an opportunity for his servant to be healed. Remember, if you are asking God for significant opportunities in your life, you must be obedient in the small things. The centurion had practiced being obedient…diligent in small things. In Matthew, we see the importance of this habit. His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.” –Matthew 25:21
Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. –Luke 16:10
“The key then to great faith is linking God’s authority with our obedience.” -Dennis Lee
When God has handed us an opportunity, we must obey immediately and with faith. In our post 20/20 Vision, we talked about the importance of obedience, writing your vision down, and sharing with a godly advisor. Someone who can pray with you and be led by the Holy Spirit as you move forward with God’s plans. But, what happens when we do all these things and still lose sight of Jesus?
Keep your eyes on Jesus
In Matthew 14:28-30, it states, “And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee upon the waters. And Peter went down from the boat, and walked upon the waters to come to Jesus . But when he saw the wind, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, Lord, save me.”
Peter asked for the opportunity to meet His Master on the torrent waves of the Sea of Galilee, but before he stepped out onto the sea, he asked an excellent question, “If it be thou?” Peter was not going to take a chance if it was not Jesus. He had seen the works of His Master and knew that He could trust Him and Him alone in such a harsh environment. We must do the same! Rather the task appears uncomplicated or strenuous when God has allowed us to venture out on a new endeavor, open a new business, take on a new client. We should say, Lord, if this is you, tell me to move forward, and if He answers “Yes,” we must keep our eyes on Him as we step out in faith. When Peter took his eyes off of Jesus, three things happen to him simultaneously. He began:
1. To focus on the circumstances around him.
When Peter saw the wind, rain, and waves, the reality of the magnitude of the adventure he had to partake in was more than he could handle. Sometimes opportunities can seem scary or beyond our strength, but if we keep our eyes on Jesus, we will discover that He can calm the storm.
2. He became fearful.
Fear can paralyze us, and once we begin to focus on circumstances, such as financial strains, health issues, a decline in clients, or lost partnerships, these thoughts can keep us in a state of panic, causing us to sink into a deep sea of doubt.
3. He began to sink.
We have to FIGHT to keep our eyes on Jesus. When things get tough, and circumstances become overwhelming, we have to remember the promises of God, His faithfulness. The centurion knew that Jesus could do what He said He could do. He didn’t have to be convinced. He knew the opportunity of healing was at hand, and he took it.
Remember your Motive and your Why
There are times opportunities will be followed by opposition, but if we have prayed and been given confirmation from the Lord to move forward, we must remember our motives and our why. Our motive should always be Jesus, not to become more successful, not to reach more people, not to be known as a great entrepreneur, but for His glory. He needs to always be at the forefront of our plans and desires; if not, those plans and dreams can become idols.
Intimacy with God prepares us for God-given opportunities
Joseph always kept God as His supreme Master. He did not neglect His relationship with God when he was sold to Midianite traders, falsely accused by Pharaoh’s wife and thrown into prison, or when the cupbearer forgot him. Because of his intimacy with God, He was able to escape the lustful calls of Pharaoh’s wife, endure the years of being held captive in a prisoner’s dungeon, and interpret the dream of the cupbearer. Joseph knew God, obeyed God, and loved God, and because of this, God was able to take him from the lowest of lows to the second of command in all of Egypt. Joseph’s circumstances did not change his response to his belief and trust in God. Joseph listened to the voice of God and obeyed him immediately. Each of these opportunities were preparing Joseph to save a nation.
“God is preparing us for good works. He is also preparing good work for us.”
Opportunity to love
Love is the greatest thing in the world. There is nothing like it. It is:
- Good Temper
- Thinks no evil
Imagine if everyone in your business practice these virtues daily. What if these virtues became part of the mission and vision of your company? It would bless others, and help us be better people while moving our business forward. God’s love in us moves mountains. When we are filled with the love of Christ, we cannot help but to give, care for, pray for, stand in the gap for—people. It will be the very nature of us because we will be the very nature of our Father. If we abide in Him, He abides in us, and this is how we produce much fruit (John 15:5) The opportunity to love others is the greatest opportunity of all. God’s greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-38). If this could become the very essence of our being, we will see our lives change for the better. Our business would be business of love, and that in itself is a success.
I love what Henry Drummond had to say about love, “ The world is not a playground; it is a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday, but an education. And the one eternal lesson for us all is how better we can love.”
Our lives are full of opportunities to learn love. These lessons are sprinkled in our daily lives with family, friends, and our jobs. SEIZE the opportunity to love.
Bill Gates’ response to the reporter hopefully has taught us the importance of seizing an opportunity. God can provide divine opportunities for you to be obedient and to love. The same way he gave opportunities to Joseph, Peter, and the Centurion. To seize each opportunity God has for us, we need to be spiritually alert and aware in the moments that appear inconvenient. Imagine if Joseph had dismissed the request to interpret the dream for the cupbearer or he had indulged in the seduction of Pharaoh’s wife. Joseph was able to do much because of his intimacy with God.
I don’t want to leave you without hope if you have missed some amazing opportunities or if you have realized that your lack of obedience in the small things has kept you from a desire that God has placed in your life for something bigger. Your world will not be over if you miss an opportunity. But it can cause a kink in your straw, a miss in your step, and may prolong the beginning of a successful adventure. Here is a great article that gives you seven tips to overcome regret over missed opportunities.