“Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity” (Jackson Brown, Jr.).
Have you ever regretted a missed opportunity? I have—too many, as a matter of fact. Probably one of the greatest opportunities we have as believers is to give someone the good news, the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we took every opportunity the Spirit prompted us to share the hope of eternal life? How important it is to be so in tune with His voice that we can say, “I, being in the way, the Lord led me.”
As we travel each week in the ministry of revival work and evangelism, we pull our fifth-wheel trailer into church parking lots and park for the week. Sometimes churches have a cemetery located right next to the church, which we have found interesting to walk through and read the inscriptions on the grave markers.
Quite a few years ago, we took our three-year-old son through a particular cemetery across from a church, pointing out certain inscriptions. We were burdened to show him that people eventually die and are buried. Their bodies were there, but their souls were in either heaven or hell, depending on whether or not they had trusted Christ as their Savior.
One particular grave made us very curious, since it was the grave of a little baby. Her given name and her nickname were etched on the marker. The dates of her birth and death revealed that she had lived less than a year. We pointed this out to our son, and he seemed to be quite interested in this fact.
A few days later, while on the way to the grocery store, I saw a broken-down car alongside the road with a father and two children in it. The young wife was walking down the side of the road, evidently going for help. I pulled over and asked her if she needed help. She explained that her parents lived just a few blocks away, and she was walking there for help. After I kindly insisted that I give her a ride, she hopped in the truck, and we were on our way to her parents’ home. When I told her who I was and of the revival meetings being held at the nearby church that week, it seemed to impress her because she indicated she had attended that very church as a bus kid. Most importantly, she revealed that her baby girl had been buried in the cemetery across the street from the church. When she told me her baby’s name, I realized it was the name on the baby’s grave we had noticed.
She poured out her heart, telling me that her baby had been born with a failure-to-thrive condition that had taken her at such a young age. Her other young daughter had taken care of this baby sister in her sickness and had become very bitter when she had died. The last time they had been in that church had been the day of the baby’s funeral. Through our conversation, I could tell she possibly was not a believer. After I invited her to our revival meetings, she seemed interested in coming. Amazingly, she and her daughter both came to the services that very evening. It was a joyful evening because afterward, my husband led both of them to the Lord!
I don’t recommend always picking up strangers alongside the road, but when the Lord orders our steps, and when we obey His orders, we can trust Him for any opportunity He has for us. When this happens, though there is no price tag on the value of a soul, we won’t be experiencing those “expensive” missed opportunities.
Written by Mary Lynn VanGelderan. This article was published in the Summer 2014 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine. She and her husband John minister together at Revival Focus in Ann Arbor, MI.