My family and I recently enjoyed a stay at family camp where we got to worship Jesus, play outside, and connect with friends from the FCA. I am a big fan of camp, God always moves powerfully, and this camp experience was no different. It was the third day of camp, and the worship leader directed all of us to stand up as we were about to engage in our fifth time of worship in
the last couple of days. I felt the temptation to just clap along during the
worship set. After all, I’ve been worshiping all weekend. Is it vital for me to
do it again? I could easily play the part and “look” like I was worshiping.
Then I encountered the Holy Spirit prompting me with, “Don’t waste this
opportunity.” I then got this feeling that I was holding onto something valuable. Something precious.
Using the word “precious” kind of makes me laugh. It reminds
me of Smeagol from The Lord of the Rings. The author depicts Smeagol as a
rather despicable character, but he can illustrate for us what it means to
“take advantage of every opportunity” (Eph. 5:16). Smeagol devoted his
existence to acquiring the ring. He finally does grab hold of it. Unfortunately,
he does so as he plummets to his death, but even facing death didn’t diminish his fascination with the ring. This makes me think, what if we pursued God’s
presence like Smeagol pursued the ring? Indeed, our lives would change
drastically, just as Smeagol’s life drastically changed.
Don’t waste this opportunity.
When God whispered those four words into my soul, I responded with a genuine expression of my love for him. I don’t always respond to God in obedience, but this time I did. The result was an incredible experience with Jesus. I won’t get into what the experience was like; that’s not the point of this post. What’s important is how I responded to the invitation, how I dealt with the opportunity.
John 7:37 says, “37 “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
How often do we have the opportunity to drink and choose to stay dry? How often do we truly engage with the songs at our worship gatherings? How about our alone time? Are we taking that opportunity to hear the voice of the Lord? I want to encourage us to view these opportunities as they genuinely are: precious. These are times that are to be coveted and treated as treasures. I am not only speaking of our times in corporate gatherings. I refer to our lonely car rides, our early morning wake-ups when the kids are still sleeping, our times of saying grace before dinner. All of these moments are opportunities to drink the living water.
The beauty of all of this is how accessible it truly is. Smeagol had to scheme, lie, chase, run for his life, and live in complete desperation to grasp the ring. We have it so much easier. Jesus made himself so accessible that we don’t even have to leave the place we are at to commune with him. The truth is, he wants us to be in continual connection and communication with him. He desires us like nothing else; that’s why he made himself so near to his children.
So, let’s be encouraged, let’s take hold of every opportunity to connect with our friend Jesus that we may walk in manner worthy of the life he has called us to carry out! He is not stingy with his benefits; he is a willing Father and a faithful friend. My prayer for you (and for myself) is that you begin to recognize these opportunities and that the Holy Spirit will awaken your soul to surrender to him in those moments.
John 14:16-18 “And I will ask the
Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you
forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."