Does Making The Most Of Every Opportunity Mean Saying “Yes” To Everything?

It is so easy to want to say think making the most of every opportunity means saying yes to everything. But God calls us to choose only what's best.

Does Making The Most Of Every Opportunity Mean Saying “Yes” To Everything?

June 2, 2022

Peering at the time on my computer screen, I sighed with frustration. How did it get to be so late? Slowly I stumbled into bed for what I knew would be a short night. For the next two days, I walked in a fog, completely ineffective and unproductive in all I tried to do. No doubt about it. My days of burning the candle at both ends needed to end. I just don’t bounce back like I used to.

Looking back on the past few weeks, I realized I’d fallen into an old habit of taking on too many activities and demands on my time. And because I said “yes” to those things, I sacrificed the time I needed for my project, pushing me to work until the wee hours of the morning. 

Age has a way of teaching me what I don’t think I would learn otherwise. God never meant for me to accept every request which came my way ~ because my time and energy is limited. 

Early in my Christian walk, I remember reading the following passage:

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV)

I used to look at this passage through the lens of wanting to deny myself and serve God. My heart was in the right place, but my understanding was flawed. I interpreted “make the most of every opportunity as “say yes to every request.” 

So to make the most of every opportunity, I pushed myself to work harder and to do more. I took on extra work, assumed additional responsibilities, and sacrificed my personal time. And for years I got by on short nights and extra coffee. 

But now I’m focusing on the admonition to seek and understand the Lord’s will. The Apostle Paul prayed this for the Philippian believers:

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11 NIV)

As the Philippians grew in their love, knowledge, and insight, Paul wanted them to be able to discern what is best. He longed for them to distinguish between good, better, and best ~ and to always choose best

This is the key to being filled with the fruit of righteousness. True righteousness doesn’t come from saying “yes” to everything, but in only saying “yes” to what is best.

This has become my prayer. There are so many good opportunities that come our way. But I know God does not want me to continually sacrifice sleep (Psalm 127:2). Saying “yes” to one thing means I will have to say “no” to something else. So I need to be more selective in saying “yes”. 

For me this means blocking out time for my priorities ~ and then protecting those times from competing demands. It also means evaluating each additional opportunity in terms of what’s good, better, or best. The best opportunities are the ones which align with my talents, abilities, and passions. They don’t cause me to shortchange the priorities in my life. And they bring glory and honor to the Lord.

As I travel down the road, I pray to carefully weigh each opportunity I receive so I can discern and choose the ones which will be best. Wherever the road leads you, I pray you can do the same. 

Does Making The Most Of Every Opportunity Mean Saying “Yes” To Everything?

June 2, 2022

It is so easy to want to say think making the most of every opportunity means saying yes to everything. But God calls us to choose only what's best.

Peering at the time on my computer screen, I sighed with frustration. How did it get to be so late? Slowly I stumbled into bed for what I knew would be a short night. For the next two days, I walked in a fog, completely ineffective and unproductive in all I tried to do. No doubt about it. My days of burning the candle at both ends needed to end. I just don’t bounce back like I used to.

Looking back on the past few weeks, I realized I’d fallen into an old habit of taking on too many activities and demands on my time. And because I said “yes” to those things, I sacrificed the time I needed for my project, pushing me to work until the wee hours of the morning. 

Age has a way of teaching me what I don’t think I would learn otherwise. God never meant for me to accept every request which came my way ~ because my time and energy is limited. 

Early in my Christian walk, I remember reading the following passage:

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV)

I used to look at this passage through the lens of wanting to deny myself and serve God. My heart was in the right place, but my understanding was flawed. I interpreted “make the most of every opportunity as “say yes to every request.” 

So to make the most of every opportunity, I pushed myself to work harder and to do more. I took on extra work, assumed additional responsibilities, and sacrificed my personal time. And for years I got by on short nights and extra coffee. 

But now I’m focusing on the admonition to seek and understand the Lord’s will. The Apostle Paul prayed this for the Philippian believers:

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11 NIV)

As the Philippians grew in their love, knowledge, and insight, Paul wanted them to be able to discern what is best. He longed for them to distinguish between good, better, and best ~ and to always choose best

This is the key to being filled with the fruit of righteousness. True righteousness doesn’t come from saying “yes” to everything, but in only saying “yes” to what is best.

This has become my prayer. There are so many good opportunities that come our way. But I know God does not want me to continually sacrifice sleep (Psalm 127:2). Saying “yes” to one thing means I will have to say “no” to something else. So I need to be more selective in saying “yes”. 

For me this means blocking out time for my priorities ~ and then protecting those times from competing demands. It also means evaluating each additional opportunity in terms of what’s good, better, or best. The best opportunities are the ones which align with my talents, abilities, and passions. They don’t cause me to shortchange the priorities in my life. And they bring glory and honor to the Lord.

As I travel down the road, I pray to carefully weigh each opportunity I receive so I can discern and choose the ones which will be best. Wherever the road leads you, I pray you can do the same. 

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8 Comments

  1. Teresa on June 3, 2022 at 7:00 AM

    Shirley I love the honesty in your blog today. I know that I also have those times when I go back to old habits because for it feels familiar and I am tired. I also have realized that is when I need to rely more on God and getting into his word so that I can continue to grow closer to God.

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on June 6, 2022 at 8:06 AM

      Thank you Teresa! Yes, it’s so easy to go back to old habits. Thankfully, God always gives a chance for a reset! 💕

  2. Jenn Hutchins on June 8, 2022 at 11:47 AM

    Amen, Shirley! I feel like you were thinking of me when you wrote this post. It’s something I know in my mind but old thought patterns and habits can be hard to break. I love the way you reminded us of seeking the Lord‘s will and doing what is best. Thank you for all of that!

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on June 8, 2022 at 12:59 PM

      Thank you Jenn. You are so right, it’s so easy to fall back into old habits and patterns of thinking ~ especially when they have been deeply ingrained in our characters. I’m glad you found the post helpful. My own need to be reminded of these truths inspired this post. 💕

  3. Cindy on June 9, 2022 at 7:03 AM

    Thank you for this! I so often say yes and then get so overwhelmed trying to get everything accomplished and I get so tired of trying to do everything! I keep asking God to give me more strength to get through the day when instead I need to ask him to help me say no!

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on June 9, 2022 at 1:39 PM

      Thank you Cindy, for your kind comment! I’ve often fallen into that same pattern. Sometimes I hesitate to say “No”, but God is patient and keeps reminding me to be disciplined.💕

  4. Phyllis McColister on June 15, 2022 at 5:24 AM

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on June 19, 2022 at 7:36 PM

      Thank you, Phyllis. I’m glad you stopped in and shared. 💕

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