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Summary: Here's a sermon to preach when deer hunting season comes around.

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The 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.

There are many Illinois residents who normally sit in church,

but today they are sitting in tree stands.

Why? Because it is shotgun deer hunting season!

Deer hunters are hoping to knock down that "big buck":

Today is their last chance because the season closes at sundown.

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 fail to see them.

Point #2 We miss opportunities 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.

That last phrase of Matthew 25:10 gives much to think about.

The door was shut!

The 5 foolish virgins failed to take the opportunity

to learn from their association with the 5 wise virgins.

There will come a day in life

when the door will be shut on every available opportunity

to make a difference in our lives.

There have been other times

that friendships have been carefully cultivated and fostered

and then they were let go.

How many friendships have we had that died from neglect?

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