Late last week, your pastor took an enormous amount of verbal abuse from all sorts of people. He heard from colleagues who questioned his intelligence and faithfulness. Even close friends took him to the woodshed, eviscerating him time and time again both to his face and through text message, some of them going for a few days. Why? Because last Thursday afternoon I put out a lot of my outdoor Christmas stuff.
You might have noticed if you went by the house. Out there in a yard is a lot of my outdoor Christmas decorations. I put out only stuff that needed to be staked into the ground (the plastic stuff will come out later this week). My friends and colleagues felt that it was way too early to be putting stuff out and that since it wasn’t even Advent yet, I was somehow being a poor example for my congregation members. My view? The ground was going to freeze and I needed to get it out and in the ground before it froze. There was an opportunity and I took it because if I had waited, it might have gone by and then it would have been twice the work to get that stuff into the ground.
Opportunity. I think sometimes the Lord gives us a chance, an opportunity, to do something or be part of something pretty cool, something way cooler than putting Christmas stuff in the ground. The Lord might give you an opportunity to use your gifts to make a positive impact in the life of someone else or help someone in need. The Lord might give you an opportunity to give of your financial resources in such a way that you help a ministry grow and thrive. There is an opportunity to share love and hope with another human being, whether it be a friend or stranger. Opportunities open up where you are in the right place and right time to hear the Gospel message of hope, forgiveness, and new life that lifts you from despair.
The Lord gives us opportunities every day to not only see God’s presence in our lives, but to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ and make difference in big and small ways in the world. In taking those opportunities, you might get criticized. But let your heart and eye be opened to see those opportunities and don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith in seizing those opportunities. You never know what awesome things might come from taking that leap.
Despite all the junk I got about getting my stuff in the ground, that night as it snowed and I felt a little sense of pride that I had not missed the opportunity that we presented to me. And I gave thanks to God for the opportunity. Every day I see the opportunities that God puts in front of me to show me that my Savior is there, that I have a calling to love my neighbor, and that I’m blessed with so much. May you seize the opportunities God puts in your life and take a moment to see how much you are loved, saved, and called. Have a great week!