Summary: If you have deer hunters in your congregation, here's a sermon you might want to preach!

he Tragedy of Wasted Opportunity

Proverbs 12:27

27 The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting,

But diligence is man's precious possession.

Church attendance was down last Sunday at many churches.


Because it was shotgun deer hunting season!

In our generation, there are new places of worship that have arisen.

They are called Bass Pro Shops.

They are huge buildings of hundreds of thousands of square feet

and every thing that a deer hunter longs for

can be found in that building.

The deer hunter can spend hours

searching through these places of worship.

The hunter can find all sorts of things

that will help him to knock down that "big buck":

So much energy can be spent on all of this,

and the money and time that is also required of the hunter.

Then there must be careful planning for the hunt.

I want to begin by telling you a story about a deer hunter.

Tom Clayborn wanted to have a trophy buck set of antlers

to hang on his office wall.

It would be something he could show off to his clients.

He purchased all the hunting gear any deer hunter would want.

He spent several Saturdays prior to the opening of the deer season

scouting out places to hunt.

The day for the shotgun deer hunting season arrived.

Tom got up at 3:30 a.m.

He carefully put on his camouflage clothes

and sprinkled the deer scent on him to cover the human odor.

He made sure that his gun was clean

and that he had all of the deer slugs he might need.

His gun had been carefully sighted in

so that there was very little margin of error.

More of that story a little later!

Point #1. We Must Not Waste Opportunities.

The deer hunter prepares himself.

He pays attention to the weather forecast.

He gets up early to get into the woods.

There's a spiritual application to us.

Jesus tells us a story in Luke 14:16-24:

16 Then He said to him, "A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, 17and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, 'Come, for all things are now ready.' 18But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.' 19And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.' 20Still another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.' 21So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.' 22And the servant said, 'Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.' 23Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.' "

These people obviously wasted a great opportunity!

They let other less important things in life

cause them to miss this opportunity.

They surely knew that going to this great supper

was the good thing to do!

Was it a sin to do those things and miss the supper?

James 4:17 says:

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

Sometimes we make that same mistake!

There are a few very crucial opportunities

that we often fail to see the great value in.

Because the opportunities are neglected...

potential is never achieved

and purpose is never gained.

Often we find that great opportunities are all around us

and we ail to see them.

We spend much energy looking over the fence

or gazing across the land to some distant places

when the opportunity is beneath our noses.

Point #2 We miss opportunities is in relationships.

Opportunities are found

in some of the common relationships and friendships

that are developed in life.

The Bible contains stories of lost opportunities.

Lot never took full advantage of his relationship with Abraham.

Gehazi lost so much by not allowing Elisha to teach him.

Demas had grand opportunities

in being with Paul, Luke, Epaphras, and others

and never capitalized on the opportunity.

One of the times that the advantage of a relationship

that was forever lost

comes from the Lord's parable of the 10 virgins.

Matthew 25:10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

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