God Gives You An Opportunity
2014-01-01
A few days ago, my Grandfather, simply known to me forever and always as "Grandfather", went home to be with Jesus.  Grandfather was part of the Hero generation.  He was part of a generation that stepped up when called to step up.  He was drafted during World War II to become a bombardier when only 40% of those flying in World War II would actually survive.  Just as he was ready to begin combat the war was over.  God had great plans for Grandfather.  I sat an listened in a 2 hour finale yesterday as his sons, daughters, and grandchildren read stories, preached the Gospel and mused about what heaven must be like now with Grandfather.  I took the opportunity during some of the hymns to take a look back at a fully packed church, one that he built by the way, to see so many people who had been touched by one of his many stories in this life.  

As we get older, many of us become much more cynical and grumpy.  It is human nature.  However, with time, Grandfather became more like Jesus.  His humility increased, his love for others increased, his gentle spirit was noticeable and yet he continued to be a man of strong conviction and faith.  This was the same man who could shut a room full of Grandchildren down with one word.  This was a man who was not known for his great sense of humor when we were younger.  The laughter would come with years of sanctification.  Grandfather is a man who was living proof that those who have come to faith in Christ are God's handiwork.  

Yesterday, I was able to see Grandfather's legacy continue even in the small things.  My oldest son, who is not that old, was sitting with my mom.  As tears streamed down my mom's face, my oldest son, who had been listening to every story, and who had been in attendance at the graveside, finally began to cry as he leaned into his Grammy's pain.  Why is that legacy?  Because my son loves Jesus.  My son loves Jesus because I preach Jesus to my son.  I preach Jesus to my son because my dad preached Jesus to me.  My dad preached Jesus to me because my Grandfather was one of the many who preached Jesus to my dad.  That is real legacy.  I believe that Jesus is doing a work in my son due in part to Grandfather's faithfulness and legacy of the Gospel.  My son is a normal videogame playing, cloud-nine 8 year old boy.  But he is also learning to weep with those who weep.  He is learning to hurt with those who hurt and to enter into their world.  I know this didn't start with Grandfather, but Grandfather certainly stepped up to the plate and lived a life full of the Gospel.  

One of the themes that kept coming up was that Grandfather was an opportunist - not in the way that you might be thinking.  He was a rare-breed.  A breed that I don't see all that much in the church on a grand scale.  I was talking with another pastor after the service and he and I both lamented that men like Grandfather are not a dime a dozen any longer.  Men, on a broad scale in the church are opportunists, but usually for ourselves, not Jesus.  Grandfather was an opportunist.  Grandfather was an opportunist in this way - he preached with his life and his talent and his money that if God has given you a job to do, then you had better do it.  Plain and simple.  There was no post-modern "conversation", no dilly-dallying, no 7-year-let-me-pray-about-it spiritualism.  Nope.  When Grandfather was given an opportunity by God to do something for the Kingdom he got it done.  He found a way.  He pushed through open doors.  He sought out ways to finish the race.  He spent much of his life building churches, schools, homes, and investing in people's lives.  If God gave him an opportunity, Grandfather made sure he took it.  He was an opportunist.    

Isn't that rather logical?  If God gives you an opportunity, you better do it.  It seems to me that many of us run from opportunity.  We look for ways out.  We look for ways to give as little as possible for as short amount of time as possible.  We look for ways to cut corners.  We look for ways to get the glory ourselves.  Grandfather was not a perfect man.  But he was a godly man.  He was a man who sought after God's will.    

This year, you will be given opportunities by God.  You better do it.  No questions asked.  Some of you will have opportunities that are once in a life time - to build churches, plant churches, meet the right person to spend your life with in marriage, take the first step in reconciliation, to put to death a crushing sin once and for all, to help mend a broken heart, to serve the poor, to go on the mission field, to put down your iPhone and connect with your sons, to stop with the porn and instead connect with your wife, to open up your heart and emotionally connect with your daughter, to do the godly thing - if you are given the opportunity you had better do it. 

Today, strangely enough, is a harder day than yesterday.  I plan to live out the legacy that my Grandfather has passed down.  I have opportunities this year, big and small.  I plan to get them done by the grace of God.  

On to it then.

Right-O.  
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