Pay Attention!

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” (Luke 22:7-8)

The critical and decisive point had arrived and Jesus tells His closest disciples to, “Go and make preparations.” Why is it that oftentimes we do not take advantage of the opportune moment? For me, the critical moment is when I am asked about my faith and I stumble and trip over my words leaving my listener with no greater understanding of who Jesus is. Sometimes I miss an opportunity to teach the truth to my children because of my all too important busyness–robbing me of intimacy in my family life. I am sure that you can name your own ways of not making the most of every opportunity. Scripture tells us that we are to be “very careful” regarding how we are to live:

Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)

Have you noticed that many times, we just get one shot? Some opportunities only present themselves once. While Paul tells us we are not to dwell on the past losses or mistakes, we are to strain toward what is ahead in this race called life:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. (Philippians 3:12-16)

Let’s be honest, the greatest gift in human history was about to be accomplished for mankind and the disciples were basically unaware. The prophets had foretold it, Jesus had spoken plainly to His closest confidents about it, and still the disciples were, for the most part, clueless. I am reminded of Jesus’ appearance to two of His followers after His resurrection as they walked along the road to Emmaus. Unaware that it was Jesus, they were downcast and befuddled:

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?” “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Luke 24:13-27)

“If you wish to know God, you must know his Word. If you wish to perceive His power, you must see how He works by his Word. If you wish to know His purpose before it comes to pass, you can only discover it by His Word.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

Take It to Heart

“Our God is a God who not merely restores, but takes up our mistakes and follies into His plan for us and brings good out of them.” (J. I. Packer)

“Real trust in God is above circumstances and appearances.” (George Muller)

“We mustn’t doubt in the darkness what God has shown us in the light.”
(Robert J. Morgan)