We live in a flight path. Thankfully not of an airport but of birds who nest at a nearby wildlife refuge. Many days we can look up and find a flock of cattle egrets, shining silvery-white in the sun, commuting to the fields to work in their symbiotic relationship with cows. Or maybe we get to see and hear Canada geese heading for Goose Lake on the refuge, flying in their classic “v” formation, honking loudly.

The other day, though, my wife was surprised on her way to work to see a bald eagle flying low over a field near our home, heading for the same place as those egrets and geese. As soon as we got the chance, we drove out to try to catch a glimpse of this magnificent bird, which neither of us had ever seen in the wild. We did get a good look, thanks to being in the right place—the deck of the visitor center—at the right time, namely, when the male eagle was perched high up on a dead tree, some distance away, but visible through binoculars.

The experience got me thinking once again about the sort of time and timing that the New Testament in its original language calls kairos, “the right time.” Kairos is gift. Grace. Serendipity. The unexpected meeting of two old friends who just “happen” to be walking on the same street at a particular moment. Picking up the phone and calling someone you haven’t thought of in awhile, who tells you she or he was longing at that moment to hear a friendly voice. Being there to witness what turns out to be an historic event on what began as an ordinary day. The confluence of streams of time to make circumstances just right for a Savior (Galatians 4:4) or for us to be open to hearing the gospel (2 Corinthians 6:2).

If my wife had been one minute earlier or later, she would have missed the eagle. If she and I had lingered longer at Goose Lake or not gone to the visitor center, we would probably never have gotten even a glimpse of the iconic bird we sought.

So it is with opportunity. To do good. To say a kind word. To embrace salvation. Today’s the day. Now is the kairos.

© 2008 by Tom Cheatham