Summary: Some times we only get one shot to do things right. But Christ can work beyond our limitations
Sometimes, you only get one chance. There are opportunities that only happen once. And if you miss it, you never get the chance to do it again. For example, At my High School, there is a tradition. When the graduate’s name is called, members of the family stand up to show support for their graduate. This allows the graduate to see their family’s faces as they receive their diploma. Now, I know that my last name begins with “B” but I was not the first in line. I notice other parents standing as the students names were called. When they finally called my name I remember looking out into the big auditorium. And I saw no-one. I remember thinking, Where are they? I get my diploma and sit back down. Then, I begin and scan the audience. And I finally spot them about 1/3 of the way back.
I remember asking my Mom why didn’t she stand up? She replied she didn’t realize she was supposed to. I remember being really upset about it. Didn’t they see that every other graduate had people standing? (Although, they were far enough in the front of the auditorium that it was more than possible that everyone that stood up before my name was called, stood up behind them.) But that didn’t matter, I was 18, ticked and stupid. I remember saying to my Mother in a very sarcastic voice, (and I truly regret these words) “Don’t worry about it, you’ll never get the opportunity stand up for me like that again”. (Like I said, Stupid!) I am sure those words broke my Mother’s heart. Even though those words were mean, they were true. My family would never get the opportunity to stand up at my high school graduation again. However, they did stand for my collage and Seminary graduations and for both my Deacon and Elder ordinations.
Life is full of limited time opportunities. Too often, at funerals I talk with people who have let petty arguments separate them from their family for years. Time to forgive and make things right has simply run out. I try to say something like, “I’m sure he/she knows you loved them.” But what I am really thinking is “You should feel bad you jerk!!” (Ok not a very helpful comment) The point is that we need to seize opportunities while we can. Forgive, make amends, and stand up, because sooner or later time will run out!
This morning’s scripture lesson tells us about When Jesus faced a similar situation. But instead of blowing it. He shows us that all things are possible for God!
The sisters sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick." 4 When Jesus heard that, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it." 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.
Ok, an urgent message is sent to Jesus, Lazarus is sick. Implied in this message is Come Now! But instead of getting up and going to him he stays 2 days!
7 Then after this He said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again." 8 The disciples said to Him, "Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?"
The disciples assumed that the reason that he did not immediately leave and go to Judea was that he was afraid. Nothing could have been further from the truth. He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up." 12 Then His disciples said, "Lord, if he sleeps he will get well." 13 However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him." 16 Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him."
You know Thomas has the reputation of being the doubter. But here he shows great character and friendship. Well, Jesus, if you’re going to throw yourself into danger, you’re not going to go alone!
This was a gesture of great Faith!
17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. 19 And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. 20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. 21 Then Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Why weren’t You here Lord! 22 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You." This is a statement of both disappointment and faith. And Jesus honors this.