One of the distinguishing features of successful people is the way they respond to the opportunities at hand. Smart ones look for the best chance and they do grab it to accomplish their long cherished goals. It’s utter foolishness to blame God, fellow-being or even circumstances for our own failures.
Bible teaches throughout its pages, that God gives another opportunity. To the rebellious and disobedient people of Judah, The Lord, "Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.” Isa 43:18, 19
The Lord graciously opens new ways and means for us that our life may be changed for better. He calls upon Judah even to forget the past failures and look forward to wonderful working of God for them.
Even as He performs things that are impossible in the eyes of man, like ‘rivers in the desert’ we should not forget our responsibility in view of the opportunity He gives us again. Cf. Luk 13: 8, 9.
As we stand at the beginning of another New Year, it is good to remember the basic purposes behind God’s gracious provision of another chance. In His mercy and kindness allowed us to come so far, in spite of our failures and unfaithfulness. Is it not our obligation to seek His mind to know how to use our time better?
Interesting to notice, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke about it repeatedly in the gospels. Through many parables, exhortations and even by His own example, He teaches us to seriously consider and value every opportunity and make use of it. Though some of those teachings got a different context, we can draw lessons or principles for our present life.
Let us consider six reasons why God gives another chance in life.
1. Opportunity to fulfill our responsibilities. Matt 24: 45 – 51.
In the parable of the faithful and evil servants the Lord underlines the importance of faithfully fulfilling our responsibilities in time. Both the servants got the opportunity to fulfill the master’s job, but one did, the other failed. Successful one was appreciated and rewarded, the failed one was rebuked and punished.
Consider how successfully we have fulfilled our obligations at various levels of life like, personal, family, assembly & even in the society in the past.
2. Opportunity to be ready. Matt 25: 1 -- 13
Parable of the ten virgins teaches that God gives us time to prepare ourselves for coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who wisely used the opportunity to be ready for the arrival of the bridegroom were honored, but the foolish ones were rejected and ashamed.
How important it is to know that God graciously extends our days to get ready to receive the Lord who is going to appear at any time. Apostle Johns refers to the possibility of many to be ashamed at that moment. 1John 2:28. Let us act as wise, not as fools!
3. Opportunity to repent & return. Matt 23: 37 – 39; Reve 2:21
The Lord weeps over Jerusalem, reminding of the chances she got to repent and return to Him. But she was not willing. Here we got another truth. The Lord is more than willing to forgive and receive us, so He patiently gives us more time.
But the repeated rejection and rebellion resulted in destruction. Knowing that terrible state of Jerusalem, the Lord Jesus laments.
In the parable of the fig tree also the background is repentance. Luke 13:5. One more year was extended to see there will be repentance or not! Luke 13: 8, 9. God has no pleasure in the destruction of the rebellious, that’s why He gives another chance..again and again! Cf. 2Cori 6:20; Isa 55:6
4. Opportunity to pray. Matt 26: 36 – 45
The Lord took some of His close disciples to pray as He approached the time of His sufferings. Instead of spending time in prayer, they chose to sleep. Even after the Lord rebuked and commanded them to pray lest they fall in to temptation, they continued to sleep, wasting a wonderful time of prayer.
How sad, in His time of agony, the Lord wanted the prayer support of the disciples but they failed Him. The result of missing the time of prayer was far reaching. In the following incidents we see the Lord courageously facing the enemy but disciples were confused. Peter did foolish things; others were frightened and deserted him.
Oh, how we need to value the opportunity God gives us to pray. Prayerlessness makes us weak, vulnerable and unwise!
If the Lord Jesus made special prayers anticipating His arrest and the subsequent events how much more we ought to pray, who don’t foresee all the events ahead?
God graciously gives us occasions, directly and even indirectly to pray. Let us not neglect those precious occasions, for everything depends on our prayers at His feet.
5. Opportunity to minster one another. Matt 25: 35 – 46
It’s not a parable. The Lord Jesus Christ is assuming a possible scenario in the future. Of course dispensationally it may refer to another occasion, yet here we have a lesson on making use of our opportunities.
Here we have two groups. The Lord says, one group served Him and the other did not. Both the groups were so amazed, for they have not seen Him in need. The Lord disclosed a truth, ‘what you did for My brethren, you did to me’! They never knew it.
The group that served His people were rewarded, called them blessed. V. 34. The others who did not were called cursed and punished. V. 41.
The main lesson here is, neglect not the opportunity to serve the people of God. God values it. It’s our responsibility to minister to the needy with our resources. Cf. Gal 6:10; Ephe 4:28
6. Opportunity to make use of the God-given gifts. Luke 19: 11 – 26
Related topics: - Time to examine ourselves //
A New Beginning
Here we have the well known parable of the ten minas, teaching another valuable lesson on making use of the opportunity. All the ten servants got equal amount. Master told them to do business till he comes. Those who made use of the time and earned for the master were rewarded. The other who did not even try to do any business was severely scolded and punished.
Primarily it refers to the responsibility we have towards the spiritual gifts each one of us received at conversion. Even all our resources are the gracious gift of God to be used for His purposes. It is time for us to be engaged in the service of the Lord as faithful stewards. Failure to use this opportunity is also a serious issue.
In the following verses we see how the Lord gives to those who have and how He takes away from those who do not have. v. 24 – 26 cf. Luke 8:18; Matt 13:12. It’s a divine principle which we may not be able to digest easily.
How seriously we need to ponder over these truths. The reasons why the Lord extended our days and gave us another opportunity is to fulfill His purposes. We are accountable to God who gives us such occasions in life. Looking back can we say with all confidence, ‘we have made use of every opportunity in the past’!
History is full of people who regret over missed opportunity. Not only in hell, even in heaven we may find such ones! That’s why Paul speaks about those who got saved through fire. 1Cori 3:15 cf. Luke 16:31.
Before too late, consider these truths seriously and make up our mind to use most of the opportunity that come in our way as God intended from us.