It occurred many years ago, when I was in the first grade. But after all of those years have passed, I have not forgotten it — I still remember it vividly.
Encouraging a group of elementary students in a one roomed country school, a good teacher reminded those of us who were her students that we could grow up to be whatever we desired to be. The key to that accomplishment, she told us, was simple. It involved living in readiness to seize opportunities for growth and development whenever those opportunities knocked. That important lesson was not from a textbook or from a lesson plan the teacher had prepared. It came from her heart, for she often went beyond textbooks and lesson plans to remind her students of that and other important lessons about life she thought we needed.
Through the years, I remembered the encouraging words and the sound advice of that good teacher, and her words encouraged me and helped me move ahead in the right direction in life. Then one day, I was pleasantly surprised — her words became even more meaningful to me. I was reading a letter, an old one that is almost 2,000 years old, that had been written to a small group of people living in Ephesus, a large commercial seaport city in the Roman province of Asia. In that letter, the author, a good friend and trusted leader, urged those to whom he wrote to “Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise.” Then, he admonished them to make “the most of every opportunity” that presented itself to them. In the difficult times and under the trying circumstances in which they lived, such living would give stability and bring needed direction to their lives.
An anonymous individual once said that we do not have to “wait for opportunity to come; it’s already here.” But another anonymous individual said that it “is often lost by deliberation.” Therefore, seize it and use it.