Missed Opportunities – Be Aware Of Those Around You

Missed Opportunities – Don’t Regret Your Inaction

Have you missed opportunities in your life? Are you staying alert so you are aware when opportunities present themselves? Read: Mark 1:14-20

How many missed opportunities do I experience because I prefer to consider all of the options available longer than necessary? I’m very analytical at times when confronted by a decision I need to make. Other times I am impulsive, usually at the wrong times.

Elisha Didn’t Miss His Opportunity

When called by Elijah to be a prophet for God, Elisha burned his equipment, killed his oxen, and prepared a farewell feast immediately. Would I be willing to make such a sacrifice immediately? Would I forsake all I own to follow God’s command?

The Disciples Jumped At The Chance

When Jesus invited the disciples in the reading, they left and followed him immediately. They had faith that Jesus would provide for them and their obligations. What faith they had! Oh, that my faith was so secure!

In contrast, one man told Jesus he would follow after he buried his father. Saying you wanted to bury your father meant you would wait to bury him until he died. It could have been years before this man was ready to follow Jesus. This is why Jesus replied “Let the dead bury the dead”.

What will you do when Jesus asks you to leave your security and follow Him? What will you do? For me, I’d like to think I’d answer the call, but if I’m honest, I’m not so sure.

Don’t Miss Another Opportunity

Let’s vow to follow Jesus and leave security and familiarity behind. We should find security in God. Our familiarity should be in His Kingdom, as we are not citizens of this world. Our treasure is not here on Earth, but with God in Heaven!

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. – Mark 1:17-18

Hiding in the Church

Read Matthew 28:16-20

My wife and I once visited a church where they asked for an offering in Sunday School of the first Sunday we visited.

While this was odd to us, I thought,”Okay, so they’re a little pushy, but the members seem joyful.” Then we were shown a packet outlining their plans for the church.

They were building a mall. There were plans for a Starbucks style coffee shop, a clothing store, a full gym. Any of these things would have been marginally okay as long as the profit went back into the church.

Then one of them said, “We will never have to go anywhere but the church!”

Jesus did not plan for His church to be a safe house for Christians to hide from the world. He spent very little of his life at church or even interacting with believers. His mission was to reach the lost.

It is my belief that those we hold in the highest spiritual regard, those who are at the church more than twice a week and never go out and share their faith are not fulfilling Jesus’ command:

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” – Matthew 28:19

My pastor uses this parable. We are not to hide in the safety of other believers. Church is not an airport to store the airplanes that Christians are. It is an aircraft carrier, a place to stop, refuel and reload, and continue our mission of reaching the lost.

Fear

Read: Luke 8:22-25

Fear is a gift God gives us. It is a tool which can keep us safe and gives glory to God.

To lose yourself to fear by lacking faith in God is sin. God gave us fear that we may know He is more powerful than we are. He granted us this gift to know when to tread carefully, but not to paralyze us and keep us from moving.

Jonah 1:3 tells of how Jonah was paralyzed with fear. He disobeyed God by traveling to a city in the opposite direction of where God wanted him to go. God sent a storm while Jonah slept. The sailors transporting Jonah woke him and cast him out of the boat at his direction to keep themselves safe.

The passage in Luke finds the disciples in the same position as the sailors. Jesus was on board and asleep. The disciples woke Him. This was His response:

“Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” – Luke 8:25

Jesus redirected their fear. Where they feared the weather, He replaced it with fear of Himself, the One True God, part of the Trinity.

Fear of God in any of His forms is a gift. Fear of anything else is a sin.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won’t turn back
I know you are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

(Chorus:)
Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We’ll live to know You here on the earth

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

“You Never Let Go” – Matt Redmond