I’ve certainly missed or misused opportunities. This time, the significance of a 5-Sunday February didn’t occur to me until I didn’t have time to write another article before the newspaper deadline.
Life presents us with lots of what seem to be “once in a lifetime opportunities.“ Many people experience a year ending in “00.” Some even live through two. Leap years ending in “00” happen once every 400 years. The most recent one, 2000, also was a millennial year; the first occurrence of a millennial leap year under our current calendar and it will not happen for another 2000 years. While we approached January 1, 2000, with much fanfare and some fear, it was just another day for most of us when it was all said and done. All seemingly significant days usually turn out to be “just another” days. Romans 14: 5-8 says the significance of each day is determined by how we live it for the Lord. Presently, God has attached significance only to one day, Sunday, the first day of the week, when Christians remember Jesus’ sacrifice and future return (1 Corinthians 11: 23-26). This significance is attached to every Sunday (Acts 20: 6-16; 1 Corinthians 16; 1, 2) just like God attached significance to every Sabbath (Saturday) under the old covenant (Deuteronomy 5: 12-15; Acts 18: 4).While Sunday has this significance, during Bible times, unlike the Sabbath, it was just another work day as indicated by the timing of their meeting (Acts 20: 7). God never forbade working on Sunday. Problems do occur when we don’t give proper recognition to the body and blood of Christ either by not coming together as part of the church (1 Corinthians 11: 18; Hebrews 10: 25-31) or by not partaking the Lord’s Supper properly (1 Corinthians 11: 27-34).
This passage also shows that the Lord’s Supper was taken only on Sunday. Otherwise, although in a hurry to reach Jerusalem (Acts 20: 16), why would Paul stay a full week in one place (Acts 20: 6, 7)? Attending church each Sunday to learn, fellowship (sing, encourage, and give), celebrate the Lord’s Supper, and pray (Acts 2: 42) is an opportunity God provides for our good (Ephesians 5: 15-17) because it reminds us of his love expressed through Jesus’ sacrifice and return. We should look forward to celebrati ng communion, like Paul and Jesus did (Luke 22: 14-20).
We know approximately when the sacrifice happened and we knowwhen and how we are to remember it. I can even tell you that there will be another 5-Sunday February in 2032 (it happens more often that I thought). But, God only knows when Jesus will return (Matthew 24: 36-51). Right now he is patient not wanting any to perish, giving us all an opportunity to come to him and live for him – that’s salvation, that’s grace (read 2 Peter 3: 1-18). Although the world will be destroyed when Jesus returns, every pers on’s soul will survive and will continue to live forever, the righteous will spend eternity with God, the unrighteous will be eternally punished in the second death (Matthew 25: 41, 46; Revelation 20: 11-15). The opportunity we have now is to choose salvation or condemnation.
Every day God gives us opportunities toserve him. Sometimes he gives us second chances (I got this article written, although in a less than timely manner). Even salvation is not necessarily a once in a lifetime opportunity, but the guarantee is only for today so we must be careful about expecting second chances because we have no guarantee of another day (James 4: 13-15; Hebrews 9: 27, 28). God owns our soul (Ezekiel 18: 4; Matthew 10: 28), and can require its return at any time, just like he did with the rich farmer who did not give proper recognition toward the things of God (Luke 12: 16-21). Even the fig tree in Luke 13: 6-9 only had its next opportunity to bear fruit and keep from being cut down.
We, too, must take advantage of the opportunities as they are presented. Second Corinthians 6: 2 says now (today) is the day of salvation. God works on his own timetable. The deadline for salvation is our death or Jesus‘ return, whichever happens first. We don’t know when either will happen, so we shouldn’t pass up the opportunity God offers for salvation today because if we do, our only option will be to run for cover, which won’t do any good (Revelation 6: 15, 16; 2 Peter 3: 7).