God has placed countless opportunities in front of us every day. Unfortunately, many struggle to recognize opportunities and make the most out of each one. When we intentionally tap into God’s divine plan for our lives, we create a powerful partnership between Him and ourselves that leads to success!
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV).
I want to share with you five ways to help you MAXIMIZE every single opportunity presented before you so you can live life abundantly. When you become aware of what is around you and pay attention to the nudges from God’s Spirit in your heart and mind, you’ll be ready and available for true abundance—both spiritually and physically!
1. TAKE CARE OF WHAT HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOU.
This includes things entrusted to you by an employer or a landlord. You are trustworthy when you care as much for another person’s possessions as you care for your own.
Investing in quality saves you money and headaches down the line and allows for a more enjoyable experience with your belongings. As an avid discount shopper, I know that cost is often top of mind when making purchases. However, before buying, take a few moments to observe details like stitching on clothing materials or fasteners in roller luggage. Sometimes, the details can make the difference between a good purchase and a bad one!
And don’t be swayed by looks alone. Instead, ask questions about such things as washability, availability of parts, and remaining warranties. If possible, test out an item before you buy it.
I heard about an appliance store that allows veterans to come to the store once a month to wash their clothes for free using the washing machines and dryers on the store’s showroom floor. What a great idea!
While the owner began this policy to honor his fellow veterans, he concluded, “People like having the opportunity to try out a machine they are thinking about buying. We’re considering expanding this service to attract more customers.”
I suspect he’ll greatly increase his business if he makes a “try-it-before-you-buy-it” session possible for potential washer and dryer customers, even if they don’t try out the machines!
2. DON’T LEAVE MONEY ON THE TABLE!
Don’t let a golden opportunity slip away! Negotiating your salary can be daunting, but with some practice, you will get the best deal possible. Remember, never leave money on the table when it comes time to talk numbers; there’s much more power in those bargaining chips than meets the eye. With determination and confidence, success is yours to take!
Ask questions such as these:
- Does my employer have a 401K plan? Is there another retirement plan? If there’s a choice of retirement plans, which is better for my family and me?
- Will my employer match my charitable giving? Will they match my 401k plan or give a portion to a retirement plan that I can keep even if I leave the company?
- What type of IRA should I have, and how much should I put into it?
- Is there an advantage to itemizing your tax deductions?
- Am I taking advantage of all the tax deductions that are rightfully mine?
3. SELL WHAT YOU DON’T USE.
Embrace the new and let go of the old! If you have items in your possession that are going unused, repurpose them into something more meaningful. Have a garage sale or list it on Facebook Marketplace to make some extra cash. Why not turn last year’s formal dress—which may be outdated now—into funds? Or maybe there’s someone out there who can appreciate those China pieces stowed away in your attic; give them a second chance at life by selling them to someone who will use them!
If you’ve got things that you’re not using and don’t want to pass down as an heirloom, SELL and invest the proceeds or use them to pay down some of your debt.
4. SEEK TO ACCELERATE PAYMENT PLANS.
Do you want to be mortgage-free sooner? By making two payments at the start of your loan, you can cut seven years off its life! Opting for a 15-year plan instead of 30 is an even bigger money saver. Even better yet, paying bi-monthly on your home loan could save yourself thousands in interest over time. Check your monthly budget and explore these options.
By the way, if you have an outstanding credit card balance, NEVER pay only the minimum payment. Always exceed the minimum amount as much as you can.
5. RECOGNIZE THAT LITTLE AMOUNTS CAN ADD UP.
Save what you can. You will be amazed at how little amounts add up!
I read about a waitress who made a simple decision to empty her wallet of all quarters every evening. Some days, she didn’t have any quarters or only one. On other days, she had dozens of quarters. She put the quarters in a small drawer. Once a month, she rolled the quarters, took them to the bank, and deposited them in a special account. She discovered that in a year, she was able to purchase all the Christmas gifts she desired to give to family and friends from her “Quarter Fund.”
Her comment: “Saving quarters became a game. It was fun for me. It didn’t seem like a sacrifice at all to put those quarters into a special account. And what a difference it made every November when I started my holiday shopping!” By the way, just in case you were wondering…the first gift she made each holiday season was a tithe of the amount in her “Quarter Fund” toward the Sunday school program at her church.
Take a moment to reflect.
- Do you think you are currently seeking to maximize every opportunity? If so, how?
- As you were reading, did any ideas or strategies for your situation come to mind? If so, be sure to write it down, and then create a plan to make it happen!
Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes. Ask God to bring you opportunities to be a good steward and create wealth. Ask Him to give you favor in every business deal.
Ask God to help you and give you the wisdom to recognize the opportunities that come from His hand. Resist the temptation to despise small beginnings. Remember, when you are faithful with the small, God will entrust you with more (Matthew 25:23).