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Opportunity Is Everywhere: We Just Have to See It

My academic advisor asked me if I could read German. I told him I could not. So he replied, “You need to learn.” So here was my strategy. I made hundreds of German flashcards, made stacks of 50, and put a rubber band around them. When I went out I always grabbed a bundle and put it in my pocket. So this is what happened to me. I went to get some food and naturally, I went to the shortest line at the checkout.  There was a lady in front of me who had a coupon but didn’t register. So the manager came over and told her that it was expired.  Then she went to pay with a credit card and it didn’t work.  So she tried a debit card, then a gift card.  She finally decided to pay in cash.  “I may as well use up my change,” she said. So she took everything out of her pocketbook. Meanwhile, I was standing behind her in the line. Was I upset that I got into the wrong checkout line—again? Nope. Did I gather all my belongings in frustration and go to another line like everyone else did that was behind me?  No.  I was standing there quite content. How was that possible?  Because every thirty seconds I had to wait, I learned a new German word. That is what I call “opportunity.”  I believe that every moment in life, even the most disappointing ones, presents opportunity and fulfillment.  We just have to see it.

So there was Matthew in the Gospel collecting taxes. Jesus walked by and asked him to follow. Immediately, the tax collector left the money table to follow Jesus. Think about that for a moment. Imagine that you have the best job in the ancient world. You sit at a table and people line up to give you money. All you have to do is check off the box that reads “Paid in Full.” There is no heavy lifting required. You have a choice. Keep the best job you will ever have or follow this guy whose you just met. Matthew immediately follows Jesus. Why? Because he saw an opportunity. For the next two thousand years everyone born will know about the day on which Jesus fed the 5000. Matthew was not only there, but he was a part of the story. He was there when Lazarus walked out of the tomb. He was there at the Last Supper and had his feet washed by the Son of God, he heard the words “This is My Body; this is My Blood.” He was there in the upper room when Jesus appeared after his death on the day of His Resurrection. Today many churches are named after Matthew, all because he saw an opportunity.

I went fishing with Dad in Boston Harbor. I told him I was going to fish at the point.  I walked out until the water came up to the brim of my waders. It is very important to cast as far as you can when you fly fish in the ocean. The key to a long cast is arm extension.  So there I am in the middle of the ocean doing the arm motion and some lady looked out her window thinking that I was in distress so she called 911.  The fire department pulled up with fire trucks and emergency vehicles. First responders ran out to the beach and they see my father. Later, Dad said to me, “Did you see the fire trucks and the rescue unit that came to save your life?”  I responded to him, “What are you talking about.” I was completely oblivious to everything that was happening behind me. I was focused on fishing because I had an opportunity. We need to be like that. God gives us opportunities and we need to sometimes put the drama behind us.   

             Two hundred years from now, few of us will be remembered.  No one will remember the work or the sacrifices we will make today, except one person.  God remembers what we did, and here is why. God loves it when we recognize an opportunity. That is why every day is so important. It is because of God. Every moment has an opportunity. We just have to see it.

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