Opportunity or Opportunist

Terry Walton


I Was Thinking…

Opportunity – noun – a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.  Opportunist – noun – a person who exploits circumstances to gain immediate advantage rather than being guided by consistent principles or plans.

The United Nations secretary-general is urging religious leaders to challenge “inaccurate and harmful messages” fueling rising ethno-nationalism, hate speech and conflict as the coronavirus pandemic circles the globe.  Antonio Guterres warned “extremists and radical groups are seeking to exploit eroding trust in leadership and feed on people’s vulnerability to serve their own ends.” (AJC, May 13,2020)

This season of COVID-19 is providing wonderful opportunities for new and innovative living.  I predict there will be more virtual offices following this pandemic.  There has been a ‘launching’ forth of virtual worship that will continue to improve and will, for those churches that are wanting to survive, become a major piece of the church’s DNA.  Opportunity for creative and innovative paths seem limitless.  Opportunity is the lemonade that is being made from the pandemic lemon.

However, there is an evil lurking and seeks to poison the lemonade.  The opportunists, as eluded to in the AJC article, are real and at work.  You may have even seen them in your neighborhood.  They are the leaders who claim, for example, that if you are not gathering in public worship then you and your community of faith are ‘faithless’.  If you are wearing a mask, you are fearful.  If you practice ‘social distancing’, you are a believer in the wrong God.  Opportunists play on the ‘emotions of the heart strings’ using their particular brand of faith as the orchestra.

I well remember Dr. Fred Craddock’s definition of sin as ‘good out of place’.  The opportunist, whether intentional or not, marks the science and medicine laborer as alarmist and desirous of power.  The opportunist seeks to create doubt and undermine those who have our best health at the forefront.  I have seen it on Facebook, and I’ve heard it in conversation.  One example… “I’ll be a Lowe’s customer for life because Home Depot had a line that caused me to have to wait 30 minutes before I could get inside.  At Lowe’s, I walked straight in; made my purchase, and was home in 30 minutes.”  Really? 

Let us seize the opportunities and make healthy lemonade out of this pandemic lemon.  Let us be weary of the opportunist who seek to poison the lemonade with exploitation of hate speech, anger, and sheer ignorance.

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk blamelessly, guarding the paths of justice and preserving the way of his faithful ones.   Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; prudence will watch over you and understanding will guard you.” (Proverbs 2:6-11, NRSV)
Always Thinking…

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