In the past two weeks I missed two opportunities. One was a poorly thought out response to someone and the second was a missed opportunity to make a pastoral visit. There were probably multiple others as well, but these two seem to linger in my mind.
I wonder about all the missed opportunities of the past 30 years of pastoral ministry. How many times could I have shared the gospel but I wasn’t sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit? How many times could a well-spoken word have soothed a relationship rather than destroyed it? How many times did I act without thinking through and applying an overall strategy to the challenge in front of me?
Rather than focus on the failures of the past, however, I would rather focus on the possibility of the present and the challenge of the future. This morning I read Psalm 71:1, “In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge; Let me never be ashamed.” Failure may abound, but when I trust God’s that God is gracious I have no reason to be ashamed. Later in verse 18 the author states, “And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.”
Perhaps others can learn from my missed opportunities. Perhaps others can hear me remind them that God is gracious and that God forgives – even missed opportunities.