In the early 1900s, a shoe manufacturer wanted to expand sales, so they decided to send salesmen all over the world in search of new markets for their business.
Two salesmen were sent to the the remote regions of Africa, and had two very different reactions to what they found.
The first salesman telegraphed his employer:
It’s hopeless. They don’t wear shoes down here.
The second salesman telegraphed the same employer:
Wonderful opportunity! They don’t wear shoes down her yet!
Sometimes we fail to see our surroundings, our circumstances as an opportunity to change the world. (CLICK TO TWEET THIS!)
We all struggle with this. We fail to see being stuck in traffic as an opportunity to call a friend and just talk. We fail to look at difficult situations as an opportunity to grow personally. We don’t see the end of a relationship as an opportunity to form new ones.
I’m not talking about being optimistic in all situations. I’m talking about changing the way we view everyday situations.
What would this world look like if we started using the opportunities we are presented with every day to change the world, rather than gripe on Twitter. What if we decided to not be bitter but instead, as the old saying goes, turn lemons into lemonade?
Did you know the Apostle Paul talked about this same thing? He wrote a letter to the early church in Colossae. They were facing all kinds of challenges, and so was Paul. He was in prison when he wrote this! Look at what he decides to write while he is “here in chains.”
5 Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.
Here’s Paul, writing from prison, encouraging Christians on the best way to live their lives. And if you’re not a Christian, and you’re reading this…don’t worry! If you follow Paul’s wisdom here, you’ll see an improvement in your life as well!
Paul says “Live wisely…” When we choose to apply wisdom to situations instead of reacting to the emotions of the moment, we will change the way we handle situations for the better.
He tells them to “…make the most of every opportunity.” No matter what life hands us, good or bad, use those situations as an opportunity to do good instead of evil.
“Let your conversations be gracious…” Can you imagine how many problems in our world would simply go away if we could do this one thing? (CLICK TO TWEET THIS!) What would it look like if everyone simply handled every conversation they had tomorrow with graciousness? How many problems would be eliminated?
“…and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” This part refers to creating another opportunity with the way we handle everyday situations. If we handle stressful, frustrating, irritating, or painful situations differently than the way the rest of the world does, we will create new opportunities.
What kind of opportunities? The opportunity to tell others why we can handle these situations differently. To tell them about the hope we have found.
We can tell them about Jesus. The Jesus who loved the outcasts of society. The Jesus who had compassion on those who everyone else ignored. The Jesus who chose to die for everyone, even the ones who hated him and put him to death.
How different would our world look if we could take difficult situations, and instead of showing our selfish, self absorbed inner 5 year old, we would show the world the true, authentic Jesus of the Bible?
Simply put, we could change the world.
So, go change the world today!