Do It Now

I heard Dr. Charles Stanley say on his “In Touch Ministries” program: “Opportunities do not come to stay. They come and then they go.” That’s a pretty heavy thought when you think about it. An opportunity may come along only once in a lifetime, and then you may never see it again.

I am reminded of the time when I lost one of those opportunities. It was while I was a student at Baylor. I was coming home to my apartment, leaving the side road of I-35, and as I drove by a corner grocery store, I saw an old man digging in one of those large green garbage containers that the city garbage pick-up leaves at store locations. My thought was, “There was someone who needed some help. Perhaps he was hungry and was searching for something to eat.” I also thought of the Scripture passage in Hebrews 13:2 that says, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so, some have entertained angles unaware.” Maybe this was an angel, testing my sensitivity for those in need. Unfortunately, I did not stop immediately to render aid. I drove on for a few blocks thinking about this passage before I decided to turn around to see if the man was still there. But when I drove back by, he wasn’t there. I couldn’t find him anywhere. And then that passage zinged its way into my heart. Maybe I really did miss this opportunity to entertain an angel, unaware of who he really was.

A similar incident happened when I was serving as the pastor of my second church in the little community of Neches, Texas. On the way from Neches to Palestine, there was one of those houses that must have been built years ago because it had what was called a “breeze way” right in the middle of the structure. Some of you know what I am talking about, but for those who don’t, a breeze way was sometimes built into the structure of a home as a sort of “air conditioning” for those who lived there. It was an open space between two rooms, one on each side, where porch chairs were set and the occupants could enjoy a cool breeze as it blew through the breeze way. Well, there was an old man who lived in that house, and often as I drove by, coming or going, I could see him as he stood there, smiling, and waving his hand, beckoning me to come and visit with him. And each time as I saw him waving, I would think to myself, “One of these days I’m going to stop and visit with that old man.” Perhaps he was lonely and was looking for a friend, I don’t know. But one day, I stopped seeing him as I drove by. When I asked at the Post Office what had become of him, I was told that he had died. Talk about conviction! Here was this kindly looking old man, who seemed as friendly as apple pie, who had waved his hand for me to come and visit with him, and I never took the opportunity to do so.

Perhaps you are aware of the old adage, “Strike, while the iron is hot.” The blacksmith could only bend and mold the iron of the horseshoe while it was red hot. After that, it was no longer pliable to his hands because the iron had cooled and taken its shape. David was reminded in Psalm 89 just how short life was. And Paul encourages us in Romans, chapter thirteen, to wake up out of our sleep and to make the most of our time, for the night is far spent and the day is at hand.

Let me ask you a few questions. When was the last time that you decided to read through your Bible, but have yet to get started? Do it now, while you have the time. When was the last time that you wanted to talk to your neighbor about the Lord and His salvation but have yet to do so? Do it now, while you still have the time. When have you last thought about giving a kind word or doing a kind deed to those who you know need such a word, but have not done so? Do it now, while you still have time. Wait no more to read that book you’ve been wanting to read. Wait no more to take that trip and see the country side or visit with a long lost friend. Wait no more to call or write someone who needs to hear from you. Do it now, while you still have the time. This is the day that the Lord has made, for tomorrow may be too late. Do it now, while you still have the time. And most of all, don’t pass up the day of your salvation, it’s the most important decision you will ever make. Do it now, while you still have the time!

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