In 1986 I was invited to and hosted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to attend the International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam. At that time I was an itinerant evangelist for Youth for Christ of Brazil. It was the first time that I travelled out of Brazil. It was a tremendous experience.
When we did our registration we received a bag with many things. We got the binder for the conference, books; advertisements from many Christian organizations, a crank cassette player to be used in areas without electricity, and a set of the New Testament cassettes.
There were so many things to do and to see that I did not check “all” the papers in that bag. Unfortunately, I learned later with deep regret, that I should have checked “everything” right away.
Inside that bag, among other papers and cards, there was an invitation to sit on the stage with Billy Graham and all the other speakers at the conference. In every main event of the conference they invited a few evangelists from all over the world to sit with them on the stage. I found my invitation a few days later. What a missed opportunity!
Thank God, that did not affect my participation or the conference for me. I was so happy and excited that it became just a hiccup in the whole experience. But it left a bad taste in my mouth.
How many opportunities do we lose in our daily lives because we do not pay attention to what is important? We are so entertained by all the colorful things, the gismos, and the actions, that we do not pay attention in what is important and essential. Because of that we miss them.
One of the constant teachings of the Bible has to do with missing opportunities. We have so many people that had great opportunities right in front of them and they just took another route. Some of them did not realize the extent and magnitude of their opportunity. They could not grasp it.
In the letter to the Hebrews we find this interesting text: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Heb. 13:2”. The writer is talking about the importance of hospitality, and people who did that had the opportunity to entertain angels.
When Jesus was entering Jerusalem He said this: “and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation. Luke 19:44” The people at that time were expecting the Messiah at any moment, but they were not able to recognize that the Messiah was right there, in front of them. They missed a tremendous opportunity.
During the next weeks we will learn important lessons from people in the Bible who missed great opportunities. I am not talking about simple and small opportunities; I am talking about opportunities that have eternal implications, opportunities that can change not only our lives but also the lives of other people forever.
Have a blessed week,