Don’t Miss It!
Seal Rookery, Penobscot Bay, Maine
Unwavering from its course, the distant ship is missing the wonder of this seal rookery and is a reminder of the gentleman in the anonymously written poem “Opportunities Missed”: There was a very cautious man/Who never laughed or played/He never risked, he never tried/ He never sang or prayed. // And when he one day passed away/His insurance was denied/For since he never really lived/They claimed he never died!
Hopefully, we are making the most of our opportunities, have few regrets, and are enjoying life. However, we all play the “what if” game. We wonder how different life might have been if we had just altered course a little, if we had chosen a different path, if circumstances had been different, if we had been more focused, mature, and discerning, if we had set better standards and goals, or if we had been more decisive and less fearful. We wonder how or why life has weaved itself together the way it has and whether we are living to our full potential in our current season of life!
Scripture is replete with accounts of men and women at some crossroads in life. Some chose wisely, but others chose poorly and missed out on a blessing. A whole civilization lost its life in the great flood because it mocked and did not heed God’s warnings; a generation of Israelites died in the wilderness because they did not trust God’s leading; the people of Sodom and Gomorrah ignored God and were destroyed; Jonah spent three days in the belly of a big fish because he refused to be God’s man; Solomon’s willful waywardness resulted in a divided Kingdom. These Old Testament examples remind us that it is easy to be self involved, to miss meaning and purpose, to sail by what God intends for us!
Jesus told many parables about missed opportunities. The Levite and the Priest in the story of the good Samaritan lost out on the blessing of helping others; five bridesmaid had no oil for their lamps and therefore missed the wedding feast; a man who hid his talent eventually had it taken away because he had done nothing with it. Perhaps the most striking and troublesome parable is about a group of people who totally missed their reason for being and, in the end, missed eternity with Him. ( Matthew 24:31-46)
We evaluate and therefore react to opportunities differently. Jesus was crucified between two thieves who had the same chance to know him. One questioned Christ’s authenticity. The other recognized Jesus’ power to save and requested that Jesus remember him when he came into his Kingdom. The thing about opportunities is that they are not just about the present but are about how the future will work out.
That is the reason to not sail by Jesus.
Our perceptions of him may differ, but if Scripture is correct, thoughtlessly ignoring him will be life’s greatest missed opportunity.