Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Missed Opportunities

“Jesus replied: ‘A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, “Come, for everything is now ready.”

‘But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, “I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.”

‘Another said, “I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.”

‘Still another said, “I just got married, so I can’t come.”

‘The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.”

 ”Sir,” the servant said, “what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.”

‘Then the master told his servant, “Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.”’” (Luke 14:16-24 NIV)

I was talking recently to a student leader who was discouraged that her attempts to help other students grow deeper spiritually were being rebuffed.  Deeper, challenging questions were met with blank stares and silence, or shallow answers.  I told her this was the hard part of ministering to people.  

As Jesus’ points out in His parable, not everyone is ready or willing to seize the opportunity given them to go deeper with the Lord.  Sadly, it is an opportunity missed, but a fact of life.  We can easily get caught up with what is right in front of us and miss what matters most.  That may be school, work, a relationship, or just our desire to be comfortable rather than stretched.  

For those of us who are trying to pour what the Lord has given us into others, we learn from this parable the futility of continuing to pursue those who are not interested in what opportunities we are offering them. Instead of wasting our time and energy on people with all kinds of excuses of why they can’t make time to grow spiritually, we are to focus on those who are eager and hungry to go deeper.  This is not to say we give up on the others.  We can continue to pray for them, but our energy should be focused on those eager to seize the opportunity to grow. 

Today, recognize the opportunities to grow that the Lord may be offering you.  They can easily be lost in the midst of the busyness and attractions of life, but they are opportunities not to be missed.  And if you are one seeking to be used by the Lord to minister to others, don’t spend a lot of time pursuing people who have little interest in growing. Instead, look for those who want to seize the opportunity to go deeper with the Lord.

© Jim Musser 2016

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