How many times have you let an opportunity to operate your gifts get away? I can’t count them in my life.
Besides being sad for the loss of blessings for others, and yourself, consider the cause. Recent reading has opened my eyes to what causes the majority of these unfortunate experiences to occur.
The first example I’ll cite is Luke 1:30…
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” (HCSB)
Remember now, this was said by the messenger Angel, Gabriel. Imagine the fear his striking figure would cause. But his purpose was call her to doing something great for God.
Fear often stops us from fulfilling our purpose, and using our gifts to do God’s will.
But in the modern world it is more likely to be caused by a different problem than being overwhelmed by the greatness of what we are being sent to do. What we often think are minor things, can make all the difference in the world to the one we are sent to bless with our obedience to doing the will of God.
The different obstacle I refer to is fear of man. Worrying about a message not being received, and thereby looking foolish, is fear of man. Better to fear the missed opportunity, no?
Another great example of being told not to fear can be found in Luke 1:13.
Even before the need for Jesus to be born of a virgin came the angelic announcement proceeding the birth of the prophet John. His father, Zechariah, was overcome with fear.
But the angel said to him,
“Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John.” (HSCB)
(She was previously barren.)
The last example I’ll give here is when King David was advising his son Solomon in 1 Chron. 28:20.
“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He won’t leave you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the Lord’s house is finished.”
Ok, let’s face facts. You and I are no Solomon, Elizabeth or Mary. Maybe what we are being asked to do in the operation of our gifts may seem small by comparison. It is good to remember it’s not the size of the seed that counts. Since it is God who gives the increase, who are we, stuck in time and so very limited in our perspective, to diminish the multiplied effects of the smallest bit of obedience on our part?
The missed opportunities are in the past. Let them be under the blood of Christ. But your present and future? Ahh, that is another thing.
(Sometimes you just have to do the work.)