The difference between the highly successful person and the unsuccessful is their attitude toward the opportunities that came their ways. In other words, life is loaded with opportunities that are sometimes obvious and inviting, and at other times, hidden and uninviting. Your chances of succeeding in life depends on your ability to embrace all the opportunities that come your way. The more opportunities you grab, the more successful you become, vise versa. The Bible puts it this way:
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. Ecclesiastes 9:11 KJV
Some have also interpreted this scripture to mean that being at the right place at the right time is the main determinant of success. For those that belong to this school of thought, God is the only one that can make you be at the right place at the right time. Thus, pleasing God and prayer are very vital factors for success. The third school of thought believes that Ecclesiastes 9:11 underscores the value of swiftness, strength, wisdom, understanding and skill in the success of life. They argue that we can only take advantage of time and chance or the opportunities that come our way if we are swift- act with alacrity, strong- courageous, wise- rightfully apply knowledge, have the required understanding- this could mean revelation knowledge as well, and have the skill or training required. Although these factors require opportunities, or chances in order to operate at their optimal level, they argue that time and chance would be wasted without these factors.
Let’s examine these various attitudes to this scripture with illustrations from the Bible and if possible from contemporary events. Abraham’s servant who found a wife for Isaac was at the right place at the right time. Carefully read through the passage of scripture below:
And I came this day unto the well, and said, O Lord God of my master Abraham, if now thou do prosper my way which I go:  Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink;  And she say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels: let the same be the woman whom the Lord hath appointed out for my master’s son.  And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, and drew water : and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee.  And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: so I drank, and she made the camels drink also.  And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands.  And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the Lord, and blessed the Lord God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master’s brother’s daughter unto his son. Genesis 24:42-48 KJV
Being at the right place at the right time can only happen by divine orchestration. In this case, the servant of Abraham prayed for it and God answered him. I pray that God will orchestrate events for your good. That you will be at the right place at the right time in the mighty name of Jesus. The widow of Nain is also a good illustration of how God orchestrates the steps of men to be at the right place at the right time. Read the story.
And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.  Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.  And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.  And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.  And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.  And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.  And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about. Luke 7:11-17 KJV
What a coincidence? The widow’s only son was being carried out of the city to be buried when Jesus and his disciples were entering the city of Nain. This can only be by divine orchestration. God will send you help at your time of need. He will make a way for you, where there seem to be no way. The Bible did not tell us of any other engagement of Jesus and his disciples in the city of Nain. We can therefore say that the widow of Nain is the main reason why Jesus came to Nain. The encounter was divinely orchestrated. God will meet you at every point of your need, in the mighty name of Jesus.
It is important to note that the Widow of Nain was just at the right place at the right time for her miracle. She did not do anything to affect her miracle. This was not the case in the case of Peter in Luke 5: 1-11. In this case, although Peter was at the right place at the right time, he had to seize the opportunities for his breakthrough. Let’s read:
Luke 5:1-11 KJV And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,  And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.  And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.  Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.  And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.  And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.  And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.  When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.  For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:  And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.  And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
Peter embraced his opportunity or his chance for a breakthrough when he gave his boat to Jesus for the preaching of the gospel. And when Jesus asked him to “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.” Peter did not allow his previous failures to stop him from obeying his command. This was a turning point in the destiny of Peter. And although there was a divine set up for him to be there at that time, he still needed to embrace his opportunities. My prayer for you is that you will not miss your chances in the mighty name of Jesus. It’s also clear from scriptures that our opportunities for breakthrough may come with certain impediments, or challenges. The story of Zacchaeus in Luke chapter 19 is a good illustration of this. Jesus came to the neighborhood of Zacchaeus and although Zacchaeus desired to see him, he had no chance of doing so because of the crowd and his short stature. But Zacchaeus did not give in. He ran ahead of Jesus and climbed a tree for him to see Jesus. Jesus saw his effort and he got his breakthrough.
 And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.  And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.  And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.  And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.  And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.  And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.  And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. Luke 19:1-6,9 KJV
The lesson here is that we should not give up on our God given opportunities because of impediments or challenges that may stand on our way. It is also important that we learn to be resourceful. We must believe that God has made provisions for us to overcome whatever natural or manmade impediments in our lives. I pray that God will open your eyes to see answers to your questions in Jesus name. He will make a way for you where there seem to be no way.
It is pertinent to add also that our opportunities may come to us disguised. Modecai came to the fullness of his destiny because he adopted Esther. When God visited Abraham in Genesis chapter 18, all he saw were three men that looked, tired, hungry, and dirty. But by the gift of discernment, Abraham was able to know that these were not ordinary men.
 And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;  And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,  And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:  Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:  And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.  And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.  And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.  And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.  And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.  And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Genesis 18:1-10 KJV
Abraham, was quick to attend to them, he washed their feet, made them comfortable and fed them. One way we can avoid missing our opportunities of breakthrough is for us to step in and be of help when we see situations where help is needed. We must be hospitable and be of help to the poor. Every time we do good to someone else, we position ourselves to be blessed by God. The Bible admonishes us to be good:
Let brotherly love continue.  Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. Hebrews 13:1-3 KJV
He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord ; and that which he hath given will he pay him again. Proverbs 19:17 KJV
The third school of thought emphasizes on readiness or preparedness as the major determinant of success. It argues that we must be able to swiftly take advantage of our opportunities when they come for us to succeed. Opportunities don’t wait for us. We must grab them without any delay. If Philip lingered when the Holy Spirit to him to join the chariot of the Ethiopian Eunuch, he would have lost that opportunity forever. See how the Bible puts it:
Acts 8:29-31 KJV  Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.  And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?  And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
Yes, we need opportunities for us to succeed, but we must also be swift to take advantage of them, if not they could be gone forever. Strength, stamina or courage is also vital. The battle of life requires courage. It is often said that winners don’t quit, and quitters don’t win. When God was preparing Joshua for the assignment of leading the children of Israel, he repeatedly told him to be courageous:
There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.  Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.  Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.  Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:5-7,9 KJV
Courage is a product of inner strength. God is our source of inner strength. He wants us to come receive strength when we lack it.
 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.  He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:  But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31 KJV
 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given ; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) John 7:37-39 KJV
Wisdom and understanding are very important as well. The book of Proverb chapter 4 and verse 7 says, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” No matter the number of opportunities that come your way, without wisdom and understanding you cannot succeed. Wisdom is the rightful application of knowledge. I pray that the spirit of wisdom will dwell in you in Jesus name. Knowledge and understanding shall be your portion in the mighty name of Jesus. Training may be required for knowledge and skill. It is important that we get the necessary straining and skills so that we don’t waste our opportunities when they come. Abraham, the father of faith believed in training. The Bible says:
 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. Genesis 14:14 KJV
 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. Genesis 18:19 KJV
We need adequate training, education or mentorship in order to fully take advantage of our opportunities. The day David was anointed kind was not the day he became king. He became king after passing through all the required classes. Apostle Paul rightly puts it this way, “Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;  But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.” Galatians 4:1-2 KJV
In conclusion, one can safely say that success in life is a combination of divine orchestration, opportunity, swiftness, wisdom, preparedness, and courage. The fact that you are alive, means you have opportunities today and in the days ahead. In order to take full advantage of these opportunities we pray that God would help us be at the right place at the right time. We must also pray that God will open our eyes to recognize our opportunities when they come disguised. I pray that you will receive the strength to persevere through whatever pain you may need to endure in the mighty name of Jesus. May God release upon you the courage to fight and win the battles of life in Jesus name. It is often said that there are two types of pains; the pain of discipline/training and the pain of regret. I pray that you will not suffer the pain of regret in Jesus name. By the grace and help of God you will no longer miss your opportunities in Jesus name.
Thanks for reading through. God bless you.