Friday, July 20, 2012

Missed Opportunity

There is a "For Sale" sign outside the house next door.  In today's housing market, a house for sale is not really a remarkable thing.  But I get a pang every time I see this sign because it represents a missed opportunity.

My family and I moved here from a neighboring state about six months ago when my husband changed jobs.  We decided to rent until we knew the area better.  When we found a house to rent, we discovered that the previous tenants had moved to the house next door.  "Marie" was a single mom in her mid-thirties with two children, one an autistic son.  She had had a stroke and was no longer able to afford the house we were now renting.  The stroke didn't affect her so much physically, but mentally.  A woman with two masters degrees was now unable to communicate effectively enough to hold down a job.

I learned most of this from the landlady.  We exclaimed over how sad the situation was, but I was honestly too wrapped up in my own move to give it much thought.  After all, I was moving from another state in December with three children under five, one a nursing baby.  Besides, I would have plenty of time to get to know our neighbors later.  When we saw the U-Haul last week and the realtor's sign today, I knew I was wrong.  I completely missed an opportunity to shine the light of Christ in Marie's life.
Looking back, I can even see all the times our paths crossed.  We were neighbors, obviously.  Sometimes we got her mail, and I took it over.  We even met at Wal-Mart once.  All these chances, and I didn't take them.  I could have invited her to church, made her a meal, or just asked if she needed anything.  But I didn't.  And now I won't have that chance.  

I wish I had been more like Tabitha and Lydia.  These two ladies did not miss their opportunities to serve.  Tabitha is described as a disciple of Christ who was "abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did" (Acts 9:36).  We know she ministered to widows because when she died, the widows were weeping and showing Peter the garments she had made for them.  It sounds like Tabitha took every chance she could to help others.  She was so loved that her friends called an apostle in from the neighboring town when she died.  With Christ's power, Peter raised Tabitha so she could continue her work.

Lydia was a worshiper of God, but not yet a Christian.  When Paul and his companions preached the gospel to her, she became baptized.  At this point, Lydia had a choice.  She could have said, "I'm very busy with my work today, so now I need to get back to selling cloth."  She could have said, "I don't know these men very well, and I'm sure they don't want to spend any more time with my household." If she had, she would have missed a good chance to show hospitality to fellow Christians. Instead, she said "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay" (Acts 16:15).  In the rest of the chapter, we learn that Lydia continued her habit of seizing opportunities to serve.  After Paul and Silas leave prison they went to Lydia's house and saw more believers there.  It seems Lydia continued her hospitality to the family of God.   The local church may have even been meeting in her home.  She took her opportunity to serve in the way she knew how, rather than letting the chance get away from her.

We'd like you to share with us.  Have you ever seized an opportunity to serve, like Tabitha and Lydia?  Tell us about it!  Have you ever missed a chance to shine Christ's light and regretted it?  You can share that too.  But most of all, if you see a chance to serve now, take it, and then tell us about it!
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright© 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

No comments:

Post a Comment