Wednesday, March 23, 2011
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My friend was telling me about the investment he bailed out of just before it really took off. He said, "I have a habit of doing that." I said, "Why?" He said, "Well, it kind of runs in the family." And then he told me an unforgettable story. He said, "My dad was approached by the founders of ServiceMaster, which is this of course, huge multi-million dollar corporation in America. And they were neighbors, and they came to him when they were just starting and they said, 'Hey, would you like to get in on the ground floor and help us get started?' He said, 'Well, guys, why don't you just go clean your carpets, um, no thanks.'"
Well, that wasn't all. Another one of their neighbors was a man named Ray Croc. You might recognize that name; he was the founder of McDonald's! He came to this same man and said, "Would you be interested? We're opening our fourth little hamburger thing called McDonald's Golden Arches. Would you like to get in on the fourth store?" "No, I'm not into hamburgers." He came back to him another time and said, "Hey, it's going pretty well. You know we're opening our seventh one. Would you like to get in on it?" "No, I'm not interested."
How many times did you think about, wow, what did I miss? I guess you just add those to the list of life's "if only's," huh? Of course, you've got your own list. Maybe not opportunities to make a million, but a lot of missed opportunities.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Life's Most Expensive 'If Onlys.'"
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Ephesians chapter 5. I'll be reading at verse 15. "Be very careful about how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil." I like those words, "making the most of every opportunity." Those turn out to be if you don't take them, life's "if onlys...if only I had." It's interesting that this challenge to not miss opportunities is followed by a description of spirit-filled family life: husbanding, wifeing, parenting, childing. And those are the "if onlys" that you can't afford to miss.
How many times have I had a parent say to me, "Ron, what can I do to get my rebellious son or daughter back?" Maybe they've been rushed to the hospital with a suicide attempt, or they're actively rebelling; breaking their parent's heart. Well, for me to give them the really honest answer, I'd have to say, "What I'm going to tell you is something that needed to be done years ago." Remember the song "Cat's In the Cradle and the Silver Spoon." Dad was too busy, and then when he had time later, the son was too busy for his dad?
See, each day is filled with opportunities to listen, to hug, to debrief, to teach, and they'll never come again. It's true in marriage, too. Days without being close become weeks, and months, and years. And one day you wish you could have those days back. They're gone forever. The Bible says, "Make the most of every opportunity."
Your son or daughter is feeling feelings now that really need your perspective. But this will pass and become a part of who they are, whether they get to share it or not. They're making choices, they're making friends, they're developing a sense of humor; trying to find out where God fits in everyday life. They need you there. There'll be many things more urgent but none more important. Everyone else will scream for your attention; they'll only whisper.
My friend watched his father miss some golden opportunities with golden arches. But that was only to make money. We're talking about the opportunity to mark lives here. And it happens in the little golden moments that don't seem that important at the time. "If only I had taken the time."
When it comes to your marriage partner, your children, your parents, those are life's most expensive "if onlys."