Grace to respond when opportunity knocks
By: Tim Calcara
Jesus did his first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. I’m thankful that he did another wedding miracle in my heart recently and I’d like to share it with you.
But before I do, I have a question.
Let me ask you. Have you ever made the mistake of seeing a divine appointment through your human set of eyes instead of seeing what God was doing and nearly missed an opportunity to share His Love in a meaningful way?
It wouldn’t surprise me if many of us would answer “yes” to that question. We pray for opportunities to be used to share the joy of life in Christ and when God opens the door, we don’t always perceive what’s happening.
In fact, it has been my experience that when “opportunity knocks”, we usually do one of three things:
1) We miss seeing the opportunity for what it is altogether, because we see it only from a human point of view. Something happens that frustrates us or doesn’t meet our expectations and we simply don’t seize the moment because we don’t see the opportunity.
2) We recognize what He is doing but shrink back from letting His wonderful message of love and life go forth by our words and/or actions and instead run the other way. ( I call that the “Jonah Complex.” Ouch!.)
3) We recognize what He is doing and respond in love by letting the Spirit flow through our lives. This is of course, what we’re called to do, right?
Let me share with you what happened.
As you may know, I play in a band called Airwaves. We played for a wedding reception last Saturday and it was a 11 hour day from the time we started loading the truck until the time we loaded to leave the venue. Additionally, I also worked for four hours that morning prior to load in so by the time I got to bed that night, I was exhausted. Perhaps it was the exhaustion that was setting in that contributed to my moment of weakness.
Earlier that evening, while the wedding party overindulged in strong drink, I began to muse about my days in high school. Days when I lived my life far from God. Frankly, their behavior reminded me of times when I felt that I “needed liquor” to ease the pain from a childhood marred by divorce and some of the dysfunction that goes along with it. I watched them stagger while we played our songs, not aware yet that I began condemning each one in my mind for their irresponsible behavior. I even found myself thanking God that I was no longer like them. I became the Pharisee in the parable that Jesus described in Luke 18.
At last, the taste of self-righteousness in my mouth began to empty my emotional gas tank and I knew I was being duped by the Enemy of my soul.
It was then that the Holy Spirit tapped me on the shoulder and spoke to my heart in that “still small voice” that believers in Christ have grown accustomed to hearing. Though I didn’t hear these exact words, this was the gist of the message:
My son, is this not what you have prayed for as a band? Divine moments such as this are the answers to your prayers. They are indeed your opportunities to love and to let your light shine. Taking my Spirit into a dark world is what I have called you to. If not for my Amazing Grace, you too would have no hope. So are you going to let your light shine or curse the darkness?” ( I’m so thankful for the precious Holy Spirit that comes to us with a gentle rebuke when we need Him most!)
I’m glad to report that this story has a happy ending. We celebrated and played and served and loved until nearly all the guests had left and I participated with joy in my heart and love for people that I didn’t even know. As we loaded the truck, we had a few one-on-one encounters with those who stayed until the very end. By His grace, my unholy attitude was restored to one of kindness, grace and service to the new couple. I am convinced that God redeemed the time and was glorified in the process.
At the time of the writing of this email, I am sending a thank you card and a gift from the band - a book about how one can experience the joy of a new life in Christ – to the new bride and groom as they start their new life together.
I am reminded of the verse in Ephesians which speaks to me about our mandate as believers in Christ regarding the opportunities that we are given to share his love.
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Ephesians 5:15-17
So have you almost missed a “divine opportunity” only to see God turn it around and bring him glory this Summer? Comment or share your story below. I’d love to hear from you.
Something to think about.