times have you heard† the
expression opportunity only knocks once. In many cases this expression is true.
Bill gates is one of the richest men in the world and he will tell the reason
why was because he was in the right place at right time and he took advantage
of his opportunity. However, many today do not take advantage of their
opportunities. Lets take a look at a example.
Do your remember Aesopís
Fable concerning the grasshopper? The story goes like this.
One bright day in late autumn a family of ants
were bustling about in the warm sunshine, drying out grain they† had stored up during the summer, when a
starving grasshopper, with his fiddle under his†
arm, came up and† humbly begged
for a bite to eat. ďWhat!Ē cried the ants†
in surprise, ďhavenít you stored anything away for the winter? What in
the world were you doing all last summer?Ē I didnít have time to store up any
food, : whined the grasshopper; :I was so busy making music that before I knew
it the summer was gone. ďThe antes shrugged their shoulders† in disgust. ďMaking music, were you?Ē they
cried, ďVery well; now dance!Ē And they turned their backs on the grasshopper
and went on with their work.
We learn several things
from this fable. First of all there is time to work and there is a time to
play. We also learn from the fable that if we fail to take advantage of an
opportunity when it is available it will soon be gone forever.
This same principle is
taught in the Bible.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those
who are of the household of faith.
You see as Christians we
have a responsibility watch for opportunities to do good for those who around
and we must realize that now is the only time that we have. We are going to
examine several verses that show how urgent it is for us to take advantage of
opportunities while it is still today. Notice what Jesus says in,
John 9:4 †"I must work the works of Him who sent Me
while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.
Jesus was a man that
understood the urgency to do good works for those around him which in turn† glorified his father in heaven. Jesus being
our master example we should see the importance of using our opportunities
every single day.†
Proverbs 3:27 Do not
withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your
hand to do so.† 28 Do
not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it,"
When you have it with you.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 †Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with
your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the
grave where you are going.
You see, not only are we
not to withhold good from those around us, when we do something for someone we
need to do it with all our might. Another reason we need to take advantage of
our opportunities today is because we donít know if we will be here tomorrow or
James 4:13 Come
now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city,
spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit";† 14 whereas you do not know what will
happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that
appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
From this passage we can
see the urgency for every Christian to do Gods will today and not try to put it
off till tomorrow because tomorrow may never come. Even Jesus teaches us that
we should focus our efforts on today and not tomorrow.
One opportunity that we
donít want lose is warning the non-Christians and those who have fallen away
about the dangers of not being right with God. Notice what the book of Ezekiel
has to say about this.
"Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore
hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me:† 18 "When I say to the wicked,
'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked
from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in
his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.† 19 "Yet, if you warn the
wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he
shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.†
Too often we wait to long
to share with our friends and our loved ones what the word of God says about
salvation because we keep thinking a better opportunity will come along to
teach them. Or perhaps we are scared that will make the mad and they wont want
to talk to us. I know that itís difficult to overcome these fears but we need
to realize that we are not doing our friends or loved ones any favors by not
sharing with them the good news that will make the difference of where they
spend their eternity. The apostle Paul tried his best to teach everyone about
the word of God. Notice what he tells the Elders from
So, not only are we take
advantage of our opportunities to teach those around us today we must also
strive to teach them the whole council of†
God and not watered down version of it.
One more concept we need
to learn about teaching those around us comes from.
Lets face there are some people
that we try and try to teach but they never seem to be interested and they
always seem to blow us off. Now I am not saying that you should give up on them
entirely, but that you should not use all your opportunities on the same few
people. We need to expand and reach out and find new opportunities with other
people. Paul put this into practice in.
Acts 18:5 When Silas
and Timothy had come from
Jews were Paulís people and he could relate to them. However, they resisted
Gods truth over and over again so Paul starting going to the gentiles instead
taken advantage every opportunity he could to teach them about Jesus Christ and
he had great success in bringing more lost souls to God.
Another thing we donít
want to have loss opportunities in is serving God
all we are going to be judged on how we served God on this earth.
Matthew 25: 31
" When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with
Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.† 32 "All the nations will be
gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd
divides his sheep from the goats.†
33 "And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the
goats on the left. 34 "Then the King will say
to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the
kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:† 35 'for I was hungry and you gave
Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me
in;† 36 'I was naked
and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came
to Me.'† 37 "Then the
righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You,
or thirsty and give You drink?†
38 'When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or
naked and clothe You?† 39
'Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'† 40 "And the King will answer
and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one
of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'† 41 "Then He will also say to
those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire
prepared for the devil and his angels:† 42
'for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no
drink;† 43 '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.'† 44
"Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry
or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to
You?'† 45 "Then He will
answer them, saying, '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.'† 46 "And these will go away
into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
Jesus makes it very clear
that on the judgment day our eternal destination will depend on how we served
God and part of that service will be based on how we treated the brethren. When
you really stop and think about what Jesus has said here it should really make
you think† twice about how you treat your
brethren. According to Jesus whatever we do to our brethren it just like we did
it to Jesus himself. In fact let take this thought a little further. If Jesus
our savior was in human form today sitting in our congregation how would you
treat him? Would you be concerned about how he looked or how he dressed? Would
you make an effort to go talk to him after the worship service was over? I
would hope that all of all us would care less about his looks or dress ware. I
would hope that all of us would desire to go talk to him. Since Jesus has told
us that what we do to our brethren we are doing to him shouldnít we have the
same outlook and the same desire for brothers in sisters in Christ.
Let me give another quick
example where Jesus teaches this concept. It comes from Saulís conversion.
Acts 9:3 As he
journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from
heaven.† 4 Then he fell to the
ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting
Notice Jesus says why are
persecuting me. Was Paul literally persecuting Jesus. No he wasnít and he
couldnít be because Jesus was in heaven. But, Paul certainly was persecuting
the Christians and that was the same as persecuting Jesus. So, the next time
you think about doing something mean spirited to one of your brethren I want
you to try remember that what you are doing to them is like doing it to Jesus.
So less try our best not lose opportunities to serve God.
thing we donít want to loss opportunities is remaining prepared for the
A great example for this
"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their
lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.†
2 "Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.† 3 "Those who were foolish
took their lamps and took no oil with them,†
4 "but the wise took oil in their vessels with their
lamps.† 5 "But while the
bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.† 6 "And at
The five foolish virgins
in parable represent those who are† just
kind of committed to God even though they knew that master would be coming.
Of† course just as the virgins we donít
know when our master will return and we learn very from the Parable that there
is great need to stay prepared for the master return every day. Again, we see
the importance of taking advantage of the opportunities while it is still
today. There is great need for us to continually prepare for Jesus return. The
we remain prepared is living a faithful life to God every single day. This
includes studying Gods Word, prayer, attending every worship service we can,
doing good to others and loving God enough to obey his commands. If we are not
committed to serving God with our whole heart we may find ourselves being like
the 5 virgins who were not prepared and when they came back and knocked on the
door the master would not let them in.
I think we need to ask
ourselves from time to time am I prepared to meet the Lord today? Am I doing
what I can to prepare for his coming or am I losing my opportunities to prepare
for his coming?† †
So far this† lesson has been directed at Christians and I
hope that it has really made you think about the opportunities you have lost
and has encouraged you try harder not lose anymore opportunities. But now the
last point in my lesson is directed at the non-Christian. So, I hope that you
pay close attention.
The last point is this. You donít want loss the opportunity to obey
the will of God and be saved. †
2 Corinthians 6:1 We
then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace
of God in vain.† 2 For He
says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation
I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the
day of salvation.
want you to under this clear teaching of Paul because all you have is today.
Today is your opportunity to become saved and to have a hope that is more
precious than anything you can find on this earth. Think about how much peace
will be in your life if you know that are saved and that heaven will be your
home. Lets take look at the lesson that Jesus teaches in
Luke 14:16 Then He
said to him, "A certain man gave a great supper and invited many,† 17 "and sent his servant at
supper time to say to those who were invited, 'Come, for all things are now
ready.'† 18 "But they all
with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have
bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me
excused.'† 19 "And
another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I
ask you to have me excused.'† 20
"Still another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot
come.'† 21 "So that
servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the
house, being angry, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and
lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the
lame and the blind.'† 22
"And the servant said, 'Master, it is done as you commanded, and still
there is room.'† 23 "Then
the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and
compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.† 24 'For I say to you that none of
those men who were invited shall taste my supper.' "
Jesus teaches us many
things in this parable but what I want to point out to you is that those that
were being invited to this feast were making excuses of why they would not
come. Many of Jews in the first century rejected Christ but the a lot of
gentiles accepted him. Jesus said those who made excuses would never taste his
supper. Well, you no what the same thing is true today. Do you keep making
excuses of why will not become a Christian today? Ask yourself the question
what is preventing me from becoming a Christian today? If† you cant think of any reason then why not
make today your day of salvation?
Jesus says John
Jesus also says, Luke
13: 5 "I tell you,
no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."
Jesus also says Matthew
10:32-33† 32 " Therefore
whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who
is in heaven.† 33 "But
whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in
These are things that you must be willing to do in
order to accept salvation from God. So, if you are willing obey these commands
and nothing† is preventing you from being
saved donít loss this opportunity because you may never have it again.