As we look to our own congregational health, we would do well to consider what Jesus said to the 7 churches in Asia Minor. Those ancient congregations mirror our own in many ways. Their struggles we’re similar, their strengths and weaknesses were similar, their needs were similar, and their work was similar. One positive characteristic discussed is the ability to see and take advantages of opportunities when they are presented.
To the church in Philadelphia Jesus said, “See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name” (Rev. 3:8). This congregation was small but powerful. Their resources were limited, perhaps, but they had opportunity because the Lord had opened a door for them that no man could close, not even their enemies.
Opportunistic congregations are like the men of Issachar in 1 Chronicles 12:32. They know the times. They are in tune with the needs and concerns of the people, and they are constantly evaluating themselves to determine how best to maximize every opportunity to work and serve. When the disciples returned to Jesus in John 4 they seemed oblivious to the opportunities before them. Jesus had just finished talking with the Samaritan woman who subsequently went into the city and told everyone about Him. Instead of focusing on the approaching crowd of people, the disciples were concerned with whether or not Jesus had eaten. So He said, “Do you not say, There are still four months and then comes the harvest? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest” (John 4:35). Concerning your congregation, are you more like the men of Issachar or the disciples?