Knock, Knock – Who’s There?

Opportunity knocking on a door.


“When opportunity knocks.” That’s a phrase I’m hearing from high school and college graduates as they go out into the world – from business people as we are beginning to emerge from the shelter-in-place and look at doing business differently – from the church as it looks at how best to do ministry in the new normal.

The word opportunity is interesting. Before we had modern harbors, a ship would have to wait for the flood-tide before it could make its way to the pier or the port. The situation is described in Latin as ob portu, that is, a ship standing over against the port, waiting for the moment when it could ride the tide to the harbor. It was essential that everyone was ready. If you missed that moment, you had to wait for another tide to come in. When opportunity to do something good knocks – we must be ready to open the door.

Shakespeare used this image of opportunity in one of his most famous passages in Julius Caesar:

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.  

Here are some essentials to get ready, recognize, and respond to opportunity’s knock:

  1. Create an attitude that is looking for an opportunity and listening for its knock. It will come. Some will see it – others will not because they are looking for some lucky or easy situation. When opportunity knocks, be sure you’re not out in the backyard looking for four-leaf clovers!
  1. Focus on the opportunity. Don’t get distracted with unimportant things and miss the opportunity to ride the tide. In south Alabama, there is a wonderful city named Opp. The sign entering the town says, “Welcome to Opp – the City of Opportunity!” Today, move mentally to Opp!
  1. Remember that opportunity will be in front of you. Many times, you don’t see a door opening because you’re still looking at the door that just closed. Don’t spend your time and energy focusing on things that you lost during the past months of the pandemic. Acknowledge what you lost but don’t miss what is in front of you. If you look in a mirror, all you see is yourself and what’s behind you. If you look through a window, you’ll see what’s in front of you. Keep looking forward!
  1. When opportunity knocks, it doesn’t wear a name-tag. Sometimes it is disguised as adversity. Sometimes it wears the costume of an unsolvable problem. It seldom comes as an easy, quick fix. Opportunity will be wearing work clothes!

“Be wise; make the most of every opportunity.” Eph. 4:5

“Pharaoh is just a big noise because he let his opportunity pass by.” Jeremiah 46:17


Knock, knock – who’s there?

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