I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Eccl9:11 New International Version
It would be easy to conclude that this verse is talking about some form of luck because it mentions chance. Yet, the Hebrew word for chance implies that something inevitably happens when time intersects with opportunity. It is not merely coincidence, because it’s not always the strongest that win the battle, or the brilliant who end up wealthy. Rather, it is when faith, talent, Kairos (Greek for appointed time) and destiny which can also be purpose or reason for being intersect to create an opportunity.
If we look at various occurrences in our lives or throughout history, we can uncover that these four things contributed to the outcome of a given scenario whether it was in battle or just simple career and business choices. Success has not come by chance but, by the convergence of different factors to create favourable conditions to create and maximize an opportunity.
Firstly, the faith and belief of the individual is a precondition for success. Faith is an important ingredient in attaining success in any given endeavour. The Greek word for faith is pistis, which essentially means total assurance and trust. If at all one is to succeed in an endeavour or life in general then one needs to be totally convinced that it is possible. As Hebrew 11:1 states, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of those things unseen.” It is of paramount to believe that what you are hoping for shall eventually come to pass based on an innate substance called faith.
Secondly, in any given situation talent is an important ingredient. By talent I am referring to the innate abilities an individual is born with as well as the skills and abilities gained through study and applied over years of learning and practice. David’s ability to kill Goliath was down to the time he learned how to protect sheep in the wilderness and also an innate talent for battle. Without the necessary talents an opportunity is often lost or wasted.
To harness an opportunity preparation and practice are essential. You cannot win the Olympic Gold medal for the 100m dash if you don’t have the necessary talent and you’re not nurturing the necessary techniques through practice.
Thirdly, destiny plays an important role in maximizing an opportunity. Every individual on the planet has a reason why they exist. We are not simply the sum total of DNA, the collision of atoms or some random act of nature.
Rather, we are inherently born for a purpose. Our hearts burn fervently to achieve something specific in life. We are pre-programmed to attain to some measure of success in the very thing we have walked this earth for. Without a clear understanding of the fundamental WHY question, an opportunity will either dissipate before us or will be wasted away by futile and vainglorious pursuits. Opportunity is inextricably linked with destiny and purpose.
Lastly, opportunity is always for an appointed time. Every opportunity and occurrence is based on time and chance that is to say there is an appointed time in history for specific events and opportunities. As a simple example smartphones would have never been developed during the Roman Empire, simply because the necessary ingredients to harness the opportunity did not exist.
Kairos implies that there is a time appointed. The span of history is measured and Malcolm Gladwell aptly points this out in his book Outliers, that outstanding individuals definitely met with opportunity within the right span of time. There is a degree of discernment necessary i.e. understanding the times and anticipating the future to ensure that an opportunity is harnessed successfully.
To succeed in life you don’t have to be the fastest, strongest, wisest or the most learned rather, you have to be uniquely framed for time and chance. This means, having the total assurance that what you hope for will come to pass, possessing or acquiring the necessary talent to execute, knowing your purpose and destiny and understanding the appointed time for a matter. So you must ask yourself
- What do you believe?
- What unique abilities and talents do you possess?
- Why are you here on earth?
- Do you understand the times?
And the answers will reveal to you where you will most likely succeed.