Seize This Unique Opportunity!
PETER was well advanced in his medical studies when the Bible’s message of salvation captured his interest. When he graduated and started to practice as a doctor in a hospital, his superiors continually encouraged him to specialize as a neurosurgeon. Here was an opportunity that many new doctors would seize without hesitation.
Yet, Peter* decided to forgo this opportunity. Why? Did he simply lack the ambition and drive needed? No, for Peter did give the offer careful thought. After becoming a dedicated, baptized Witness of Jehovah, he desired to spend as much time as possible in the various aspects of the Christian ministry. Once he qualified as a neurosurgeon, he reasoned, his profession would swallow more and more of his time and energy. Was he foolish to give up this distinctive prospect, or was he wise?
To some, Peter’s decision may have seemed foolish. However, he took into account such Bible texts as Ephesians 5:15, 16. There the apostle Paul urged fellow Christians: “Keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons, buying out the opportune time for yourselves, because the days are wicked.”
Please note the expression “opportune time.” It is translated from a Greek word used in the Bible mostly to refer to a time or period marked by certain features or appropriate for a specific activity. Here Paul stressed that Christians should make time for important matters. Indeed, they need to “make sure of the more important things.” (Philippians 1:10) It is a question of setting priorities.
So, then, what is the divine purpose for our time? What is God’s will for those who love him? Bible prophecies clearly identify our day as “the time of the end,” or “the last days.” (Daniel 12:4; 2 Timothy 3:1) Christ Jesus left no doubt about what would be of paramount importance for our day. He specifically said that before the end of this wicked system of things, ‘this good news of the kingdom would be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.’ Only then would the end come.—Matthew 24:3, 14.
Therefore, we need to seize every opportunity to preach the good news of the Kingdom and make disciples. (Matthew 28:19, 20) Since these activities are never-to-be-repeated, this is the last opportunity to give our all in this lifesaving work. “Now is the especially acceptable time.” Indeed, “now is the day of salvation.”—2 Corinthians 6:2.
Making a Wise Decision
Peter—the young man mentioned at the outset—carefully thought about his decision and weighed his options. He realized that it would not be wrong for him to study with a view to becoming a neurosurgeon. But what was most important to him? It was his activity in the Christian ministry, considering the urgency of this work. At the same time, he had obligations to fulfill. He was married and had to support his wife, who is participating in the preaching work full-time. (1 Timothy 5:8) Peter also had to repay debts associated with his education. What, then, did he decide to do?
Peter decided to specialize in radiology and to do ultrasound scans. This was work that would entail a normal workday. He would also receive his training during regular working hours. Yes, some might consider this a less prestigious position, but it would allow him more time to devote to spiritual pursuits.
Another consideration prompted Peter’s decision. While not judging others who may have decided differently, he knew that becoming too involved in secular matters does pose a danger for a Christian. It can cause him to neglect spiritual responsibilities. This is illustrated by another example that revolved around employment.
A certain full-time Kingdom preacher was a trained artist. He was able to support himself financially by selling his paintings. While devoting most of his time to the all-important Christian ministry, he could thus support himself comfortably. However, a desire to further his artistic career began to grow. He became more involved in painting and the art world, left the full-time ministry, and eventually became totally inactive as far as the Kingdom-preaching activity was concerned. In time, he became involved in unscriptural conduct, resulting in his being no longer a part of the Christian congregation.—1 Corinthians 5:11-13.
Our Time Is Special
As those now serving Jehovah, surely we want to remain faithful to him. We know that we are living in the most extraordinary time in human history. In order to keep on serving God and to cope with present-day circumstances effectively, we may need to make various adjustments. We can compare this to harvesttime for a farmer. That is a period of special activity, when farm workers are expected to exert themselves more than usual and put in longer workdays. Why? Because the harvest must be gathered within a limited period of time.
There is only a very limited time left for the present wicked system of things. Now more than ever before, a true Christian needs to exert himself to follow Jesus’ example and walk in his footsteps. His life course on earth clearly demonstrated what was of greatest importance to him. He said: “We must work the works of him that sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no man can work.” (John 9:4) By saying that the night was coming, Jesus was referring to the time of his trial, impalement, and death, when his earthly ministry would end and he would be unable to engage in the works of his heavenly Father.
True, during his three-and-a-half-year ministry, Jesus spent some of his time performing miracles and curing the sick. Nevertheless, he used most of his time to preach the Kingdom message and to “preach a release to the captives” of false religion. (Luke 4:18; Matthew 4:17) Jesus put earnest effort into his ministry and also took time to train his disciples so that they could build on the foundation he had laid and effectively continue with the preaching work. Jesus seized every opportunity to promote Kingdom interests and wanted his disciples to do the same thing.—Matthew 5:14-16; John 8:12.
Like Jesus, we who are his modern-day followers need to see mankind’s situation as Jehovah God does. Time is running out for this system of things, and God mercifully wants all to have the opportunity to gain salvation. (2 Peter 3:9) Therefore, would it not be wise to put all other pursuits in second place to the doing of Jehovah’s will? (Matthew 6:25-33) Especially during such a special time as this, something that would normally be regarded as important may well become of lesser importance in our lives as Christians.
Will any of us ever regret putting God’s will first in our lives? No indeed, for the Christian course of self-sacrifice is wonderfully rewarding. For instance, Jesus told his disciples: “Truly I say to you men, No one has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the good news who will not get a hundredfold now in this period of time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields, with persecutions, and in the coming system of things everlasting life.”—Mark 10:29, 30.
No one can place a monetary value on the rewards enjoyed by those who use their time to praise Jehovah and proclaim the Kingdom message. They enjoy so many blessings! These include true friends, the satisfaction of doing the divine will, God’s smile of approval, and the prospect of endless life. (Revelation 21:3, 4) And what a blessing it is to help people spiritually and bring honor to Jehovah’s holy name as his Witnesses! Without question, “buying out the opportune time” is a truly wise and rewarding course. Now as never before is the time to share in declaring the good news of God’s Kingdom. Will you seize and hold on to this unique opportunity?
A substitute name.