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missed opportunities

December 10, 2007

Last week I took all three boys shopping with me. I only needed one thing, but it still turned into a nightmare – baby crying, unruly children running around the store. By the time we were driving home I was angry and tired and anxiously awaiting naptime. Then I saw a boy walking down the busy road ahead of me. He looked like he was probably 13 or 14, dressed in all black – you know, one of those boys you hope your kid doesn’t become. I remembered my new goal to keep my eyes open for needs that I can meet. For a split second, I thought about stopping to offer him a ride to wherever he was going. But I was in a hurry, irritable, and moderately concerned about the safety of my children. So, I just kept driving.

I didn’t think about that boy again until this morning.  I was reading my Bible and came across James 4:17 –

Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

Before reading those words, which I’m sure I have read many times before, I never really thought about the things we don’t do as sin. Missed opportunities, maybe, but sin? Then I thought about my own children. If I tell them to do something and they choose to ignore me, it is most certainly disobedience. When I look at it that way, it is obvious that my missed opportunities are indeed sin.

So a new challenge is added to my goal. Now, instead of just looking for people who need help, I need to commit to act on the opportunities – whether or not I feel like it at the moment. I don’t know where that boy was going, or what his life is like beyond what I can see from the outside. Who knows, that may just have been the turning point in an otherwise rotten day… for both of us.

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