You Want Me to Do What?!
I hope I’m not the only one who is guilty of thinking, “You want me to do what?” when feeling God nudging me (the Holy Spirit punching me in the gut) to do something. Having grown up in Thailand and then having spent the past five years in the US, I can confidently and sadly say that I have missed opportunities God has given me.
I will never forget the day I missed my opportunity to stardom.…I was probably 8 years old and my parents took my brother and me to a science museum in Thailand. The day we visited happened to be “Children’s Day,”* and a TV channel was hosting a show in honor of parents and their children. I was spotted out of the crowd of children (which isn’t too hard when you have blond hair, blue eyes, pale skin, and are surrounded by Thai children) and they asked me to say on national television how much I loved my parents. I could have been famous–for at least ten minutes–but I chose to be timid and embarrassed (one of the few times of my life) and not go on the show. A missed opportunity!
Now, that’s a humorous story of missing an opportunity, but in regard to our spiritual walk, the opportunities that God provides are so much more! Too many times I have prayed for the Lord to provide opportunities for me to witness or invite people to church services. I believe I was mistaken in making that request. God provides us with opportunities every day, and it is more a matter of choosing to seize those opportunities with boldness rather than of needing God to provide them for us. I Peter 3 offers words of encouragement, “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.” The instruction to be ready suggests that opportunities will be available. We just need to be ready for them. Some opportunities require us to take initiative and seek them out, and others, I believe, God drops in our spiritual laps; all are allowed by God and provided by God.
But how do you know, right? I mean, how does a person really know when he is supposed to do something for the Lord? In terms of witnessing, which I personally believe can seem a daunting task because of all the variables involved, simple steps of faith must be taken and a question must be asked. Will I regret not saying something? Recently, I had the opportunity to plant seeds of the Gospel in some young hearts.…I cannot tell you the relief I felt having shared the plan of salvation with two close friends! I would like to say that everyone I witness to receives Jesus Christ that very moment, but I would be lying. As believers, we are told to share God’s Word and to present the Gospel as clearly as possible. We are not told, however, to convict or save people. The Holy Spirit convicts, Jesus saves, and we are to allow the Lord to work through us. My prayer is that we will live with less regrets of missed opportunities and more anticipation of what the Lord will do through us.
Too many faces come to my mind when I think of past regrets of missed opportunities, all because of my fear of being rejected or of “awkward” moments of silence if my words aren’t received with the expected jubilation. Living without regrets means being willing to get past the, “You want me to do what?!” thoughts and trusting that the Lord will guide you every step of the way. Who knows, it may be then that you and I experience something great and see the Lord’s hand at work!
I’ve heard it said, “We aren’t stepping out on faith until we attempt something for God that is doomed to fail unless He’s in it.” As Christmas approaches, accompanied by nativities, celebrations, and church musicals and special services, we have more opportunities than ever to start a conversation with the people around us, and more opportunities to invite people to church. What will we choose to do with them? I challenge you (and me) to seize them, expecting great things from the Lord! Here’s to stepping out on faith and overcoming the fear.
We’d love to hear from you! If you choose to seize an opportunity this Christmas, please let us know how it goes! Nine days and counting!
*Children’s Day happens to be one of the best ideas ever (speaking as a married man without children), where children are given free candy, theme park access, and presents for free! This wonderful holiday is celebrated in Thailand, and just in case you are curious, it happens to fall on the second Saturday of January of every year.