Opportunity is a blessing ... a precious blessing from God. Wise men exploit them for great gain and honor. Foolish men squander them to poverty and shame. Wise men see a door of opportunity and rush through it with passionate zeal - they are gripped by the potential of extraordinary gain. Foolish men miss the door, or presume it will always be there, and head for home with lazy steps - they are dulled by the desire to play or sleep.
Opportunity is not guaranteed. Life is a changing scene of prosperity and difficulty. The agricultural cycle had a great opportunity during summer harvest. Wise men gathered all they could with extra effort and time. Foolish men dreaded the extra demands and could not see the reward, so they sought to avoid the hot fields. "There is a time to get, and a time to lose"; the wise know when to get, and fools always lose! If you snooze, you lose!
When times are good, gather all you can for leaner times to come. Both come from the Lord, but the wisdom of this proverb teaches you how to handle both events! Business cycles, prosperity, depression, and promotion are the work of God (Eccl 7:14). Diligently accumulate much when it is easy, and you will have extra to fall back on when it is hard. You cannot boast of tomorrow, so you must provide for tomorrow (22:3; 27:1,23-24).
Solomon gave his son rules for success (Proverbs10:1), and he began with financial rules. He taught righteousness in business (10:2), providence in business (10:3), and diligence in business (10:4). The rule here is prudence in business - to diligently use opportunities to accumulate assets, for a slothful neglect of opportunities will bring poverty. Even ants know to work hard and save in the summer (6:6-11; 30:25).
Every man, has many opportunities in education, business, and investments for great gains. He must see the opportunity, be prepared for it, and capitalize on it. "Time and chance happeneth to them to all," but have you exploited the times and chances God has given you (Eccl 9:11)? Most opportunities occur in the earlier stages of life; young men have greater drive and flexibility than others; and the consequences of their sloth are greater; so the proverb is primarily for young men.
Dear friend, are you opening educational doors to gather knowledge, learn valuable skills, or acquire a trade? Are you using your present income with minimal expenses to accumulate the seed capital for lucrative future investments? Are you building relationships with your father's and other contacts for future references? Young man, are you working feverishly in a
company known for promoting from within? Do you know that playing or sleeping now will cost you much more than playing or sleeping later?
If you waste opportunity, you tempt God (Luke 4:12). He gave you the means to success, but you neglected them. If you have a talent - of any kind, do not bury it! When troubles come, He will not hear, because you wasted His gift (1:20-32; 20:4; Matt 25:14-30). If He opens a door - of any kind - rush through it with holy zeal. David said, "By my God have I leaped over a wall" (Ps 18:29). Glory! Many in the world have few opportunities, so exploit the ones He gives you! To whom much is given shall much be required!
Elisha gave Joash, the king of Israel, an opportunity to fix the number of victories Israel would have over the Syrians; but the indolent king only struck the ground three times (II Kgs 13:14-19). Elisha grieved that he had not taken greater advantage of this divinely granted opportunity to exterminate the Syrians! Dear reader, how many opportunities in your life have you squandered by only smiting the ground three times? Confess it!
When the money tree is blooming, pick it clean and save most of it! When any personnel change occurs in your office, locate the vacuum and fill it! When a rising star could be your mentor or sponsor, grab his coattail with both hands! When a successful man offers you a piece of his action, do your due diligence and dive in! When rare overtime is available, volunteer for it in advance! When you are reading God's word and feel knowledge and pleasure in your soul, read longer to fully capitalize on that special grace!
There are more than financial opportunities, which you also ought to exploit with diligent zeal! How about the opportunity of wisdom in this proverb and its commentary! Are you reading it with fired zeal and holy excitement? Are you intent on accumulating that most precious of all commodities - wisdom? Are you meditating on every sentence? Asking the blessed God to prosper your efforts to grow wise? Or will He take from you the little knowledge you have and give it to the man who does make such efforts (Luke 8:18)?
How about the opportunity of conviction to please the Lord more perfectly? When these seasons of harvest come to your life by the grace of the Holy Spirit, do you rush through the open door to draw closer than ever before to the living God? Or are you so infatuated with the world that these open doors appear only as empty closets in your rush down the hall of life to the vanity and excess of this profane, perverse, and damned generation?
How about the opportunity of preparing to stand before the King of kings and Lord of lords? If you understand the reality of this approaching event, you have been given a blessed opportunity. You will soon pass out of this bustling world through the darkness of death into the light of His glorious Presence. You should, like the unjust steward, be laying up a good foundation against that time to come (Luke 16:1-15; I Tim 6:17-19).