I have a special gift. I am able to lay my head on a pillow and be asleep within twenty seconds. I can go to sleep that fast. My wife is envious of this super power because she does not have this ability. Instead, she will sit awake, and as she sits awake, she seethes with anger at my ability to sleep. The reason I know this is every once in a while as I’m sleeping, I’ll get a tap on my forehead.
“What, what, what?” I’ll say. “I can’t go to sleep because you’re snoring.” “That’s not my problem,” I say as I roll over and immediately fall back asleep.
I think many of us have the ability to sleep our whole lives away. We have somehow developed the ability to go through life and miss everything. We might look awake, but the truth is we’re really sleeping. That’s how we miss the opportunities God brings into our lives.
Learning to be thankful is a way of waking up.
We see it illustrated in Ephesians 5:15: “Be careful how you live, not like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.” The Apostle Paul is saying we are all here for a purpose, for a reason, as children of God. He wants to use you, and opportunities are constantly showing themselves to you.
So why do we miss them?
Could it be that your job is an opportunity? Maybe you’re thinking, I don’t want to work there. I want to work somewhere else. But God is saying you can’t move on to a new opportunity until you use the one you already have. Could it be you’re in a particular school and class because of an opportunity God has given you? Can you find a way to make the most of it?
My wife recently ran a road race. I was there cheering her on, and there were thousands of people in that park. I was in the crowd watching for Kim, and all of a sudden I heard someone next to me say, “Oh, my gosh! Pastor Beau?”
I turned and looked at the guy, and I recognized him, and I was trying to recall his name when he said, “I’m Kevin. Do you remember me?”
I said, “Yes,” but I was struggling to place him, to remember how I knew him.
He said, “1993 youth group,” and it all came rushing back.
Kevin was a young Jewish boy who had so many questions. The first week he came to the youth group, we talked, and at the end of the conversation, I asked him if he would like to accept Jesus Christ as his savior. Here we were, over twenty years later, and he had a wife and a baby, and he was saying to me, “That changed my life forever.”
Later, I thought he could have been just another face in the crowd at the race, if, way back there somewhere, I’d had an opportunity and missed it. Seeing Kevin made me so thankful I spotted the opportunity and did something with it.
What I’m trying to say is you have an opportunity every day. It might be with the server who waits on your table, or perhaps a person you run into at the grocery store. It might be when you’re on a phone call with a family member. Begin to see the opportunities God is always offering. They’re not a coincidence. God is at work.
When you start saying, God, thank you for putting me right here, right now, at this place, at this time, and please help me to see the opportunities around me, then you begin to see God work in ways you never dreamed possible. Can you list some of the opportunities you might be missing as you go through your daily life? Are you grateful for them?
To read more about how gratitude can change your life, download Stones Of Gratitude.