[Originally published as Taking and Making Opportunities]
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season… 2 Timothy 4:2
People have asked me, “How are you able to photograph so many different animals?” A big part of the equation is taking and making opportunities. This success principle holds true in many areas: financial investors watch the markets to take advantage of opportune seasons to invest, while ingenious entrepreneurs create a market where none existed before.
Taking an opportunity, or making one, can bring success.
There are times that wildlife photography opportunities present themselves; say, a Red-tailed Hawk swooping down on a roadside squirrel, or a Gray Fox cutting through your backyard. You have to be always ready to take those opportunities when presented. But most of the time, birds don’t swoop in and pose when we set up a tripod and camera. We must make opportunities by traveling to areas that maximize our chances of wildlife viewing, such as birding hotspots, parks, and wildlife refuges.
In the Bible, the Apostle Paul passes along this same strategy for success to the young pastor Timothy. William Barclay’s translation of 2 Timothy 4:2 says,
Urge it upon people whether you can take an opportunity or have to make an opportunity.
Paul isn’t speaking about wildlife photography or financial investments, but about eternal investments: souls! There are times that opportunities to witness present themselves, such as in a long line at Walmart. Other strategies include making evangelistic opportunities such as outdoor concerts and testimony services, or mini neighborhood healing crusades.
So, a greater question than “How do I photograph more birds?” is “How do I win more souls?”! Hobbies and recreation are fine—and I’d say they are even essential to mental health—but do I spend as much time seeking to bring people for Christ as I do on photography? Or do I squander my evangelistic opportunities on other pursuits?
Just some food for thought. As for me, I will pursue and enjoy both!