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Taking and Making

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2).

Chrysostom, in one of his writings, breaks down this exhortation into two imperatives: take opportunities and make opportunities to preach the word.

If we are to preach God’s word continuously we must take every opportunity—“Preach the word; be instant in season.” Every opportunity that is planned or programmed for the ministry of the word should be redeemed to the very best advantage. Our highly-organized religious life produces wide-open doors for an effective witness. Not only are there the regular church services, but the many other scheduled events which come through the normal channels of Christian work.

To go a step further, we must make opportunities—“Preach the word … out of season.” We can become so conformed to and bound by the great machinery of Christendom that we lose our inspiration and vision, our sense of freedom and anointing. The servant of God is to save himself from that. He is not only to take the opportunities given him, but also to make opportunities.

In exhorting Timothy in such a manner, the apostle was preaching what he practiced. You only have to study his missionary journeys, as recorded in the book of Acts, to see how Paul took opportunities to preach the word, and also made opportunities in city after city (e.g., Acts 16:16–34; 19:9). This was likewise true of our Lord. He not only took advantage of the opportunities to preach the truth in the recognized centers of religious life on the Sabbath day, but He also made opportunities for communicating the message of life. He transformed a mountainside into a Bible conference; a fishing boat into an evangelistic platform; a well-side into a counseling room; the shadows of evening into an opportunity to lead Nicodemus into the experience of the new birth. He preached the word continuously—and so must we.

—Adapted from Anointed Expository Preaching by David Olford.