Opportunity: Seized or Missed?

By Nelson Thomas Mumbai

Once again we are coming to the end of another year. Most Christians will have a special time of praise and thanksgiving, remembering the wonderful ways of God in the past and seeking His continued blessings for a happy new year.

Definitely, a grateful heart and a prayerful attitude will ensure a satisfied and peaceful life ahead. However, instead of making this a ritualistic yearly service it would be more appropriate if we would use this occasion for a sincere evaluation of how wisely we used our time. Such a personal spiritual exercise will help us to make necessary amendments, trusting in the Lord.

Extended time
We should not forget that the Lord in His grace and mercy extends our life so that we may become more fruitful and useful for the Lord. This becomes even more imperative when we realize the fact that hundreds of God’s people have been called Home in the recent past, and some of us have been left behind with a definite purpose.

That is exactly what the Lord Jesus teaches in Luke Chapter 13 through the parable of a master who sought to cut down a fruitless tree. Christ wants us to realize that He expects fruits and hence He continues to give us opportunities and needed resources. Therefore brethren, let’s not neglect the expression, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also’! (Luke 13:8)

Often we realize the value of time and opportunity only when they are gone. That’s why it’s good to learn lessons from others. Never forget that success or failure basically depends on how wise we are in making use of our opportunities. Let us briefly consider few tales of people who missed golden opportunities and regretted later, so that we may not repeat their mistakes.

1. The rich man who failed to make sure of his eternity, Luke 16:25
We believe the Lord Jesus is referring here to a true story. (Luke 16: 19 – 31) This wealthy Jewish man who ended up in the Hades laments now. Father Abraham reminds him, “'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things...” (v. 25) Abraham further tells him of the impossibility of any help at this stage. (v. 26) It was not because he was rich, but while on earth he miserably failed to trust the Lord for the forgiveness of his sins. He never bothered to consider the condition of his life after death. He never confessed his sins or sought forgiveness.

Millions today make the same mistake, while simply going on enjoying the pleasures of this world. They may be religious who faithfully follow the rituals, but never take time to examine their true spiritual status according to God’s holy word.

More than anything else, our priority must be to make sure of our eternity. That’s possible only by confessing our sins and trusting in the saving work of Christ today. (John 11:26; Acts 16:31; Rom. 19:9, 10)

2. The bridesmaids who failed to be watchful, Matthew 25: 10 – 13
The parables in this chapter may have a different meaning in the dispensational point of view, but now let us pay attention to the practical lessons for us today.

Out of the ten virgins who waited for the arrival of the bridegroom, five were not well prepared. They were foolish and careless. That resulted in their rejection in spite of their passionate appeals. (v. 11).

The Lord Jesus made the application very clear and loud, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” (Matt. 25:13) The Lord’s message for His people at any period of time is this; be watchful always. (Rev 16: 15; 22: 11, 12, 20)

Do not just assume that we are ready in every aspect. We ought to examine our faith and practice in the light of God’s precious word and make sure we are prepared indeed. The strange thing is, many who are so enthusiastic and intelligent to be well prepared in connection with their worldly affairs, are not serious enough when it comes to their spiritual life. Remember, there may be many reasons to be indifferent today, but any regret and pleading tomorrow will be of no use. (Matt 7: 21 – 23)

3. The servant who failed to use his master’s resources wisely. Matthew 25: 24 - 30
In the parable of the talents, Christ wants us to be aware of the value of the possessions at our disposal and how to handle it. Never forget, all that we have today whether health, wealth, or opportunities, all have come from the Lord. As faithful and wise stewards we ought to make use of these resources according to His will and for His glory.

The two men who got talents from the master traded with it and made it double. But one of them did nothing. What was the response of his master to him? Not only did he rebuke him severely, calling him, ‘wicked, lazy and unprofitable’, he punished him too. (vs. 26 30)

Consider all the benefits we have enjoyed during the past one year; how much have we utilized these for the purposes of God? One day our Master will come and ask for an account. The faithful servants will be appreciated and rewarded appropriately. Needless to say, the unfaithful will be ashamed.
It was in this context that the Lord made a golden principle, “For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.” (Matthew 25:9)

4. The people who failed to take care of God’s people, Matthew 25: 43 - 45.
Here we see a group of people who will argue at the time of judgment. When the Lord says, “I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me'” (vs. 42, 43), their answer is that they never saw Him hungry, thirsty or naked.

That means they were willing but never found an opportunity to serve Christ. The Lord’s answer is significant, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” (v. 45)

Yes, this passage definitely refers to a different dispensation, but let us not neglect the valuable truth implied here. The Lord Jesus in glory takes note of our services for His brethren. (v. 40) What we do for God’s people is counted as what we have done for Him. (Matt. 10:40; 18:5)

Paul’s admonition in this regard is poignant, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10) There is an occasion to serve one another. Seizing such opportunities, we ought to serve the Lord’s people, for that is the way we serve our Lord. Have we used our resources and time for helping the needy in the past? (Eph. 4:28)

5. The apostles who failed to pray. Matthew 26: 40, 41.
Even after the Lord Jesus repeatedly instructed the apostles to pray lest they fall into temptation, they simply slept. As a result, they could not withstand the crisis that followed. Peter took out a sword, which he was not supposed to do; (v. 52) later they even forsook Christ and fled. (v. 56) Earlier also the apostles had experienced the consequences of neglecting a time of prayer. (Luke 9:28, 32, 40)

Often, more than anything else we find it difficult to pray, because it’s there on our knees we win our spiritual battles. No wonder Paul describes the prayer of Epaphras as a labor. (Colo. 4:12)

Apart from the normal daily prayers, how much time do we spend alone at the feet of Christ? It’s time that we examine our personal prayer life. Have we seized the opportunity to pray faithfully and satisfactorily?

All the above mentioned examples show how important it is to wisely make use of the time God has graciously allotted to us. Let us be conscious of the times and the uncertainty of life. (Rom 13:11) Let us fulfill our responsibilities today itself, for tomorrow may never come. (Eph. 5:16)

Related topics: Now You Can be Saved!

To all our esteemed readers, well-wishers and prayer partners, we prayerfully and sincerely wish a very happy and Christ-centered New Year2022.




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