TITLE: Missed Opportunities
DATE: December 9, 2018
TEXT: Colossians 1: 20-22 (ESV) -And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
Kublai Khan, the grandson of the great conqueror, Genghis Khan, ruled over a vast Mongol empire.
The great Khan was pleased when Nicolo and Maffeo Polo (Marco Polo’s father and uncle), arrived at his court to trade. Having been touched by the witness of these Christian brothers, the ruler requested that when they returned to their homes in the West, they would send missionaries to instruct him.
The Khan thought it would work this way:
Things might have progressed as the Khan dreamed. But circumstance and situation prevented things from working out that way.
When the Polos returned to Europe they delivered the Khan’s request to the church authorities.
Unfortunately, the request arrived at a time when the church was involved in turmoil and struggle. It took years before missionaries were sent, and then, only two monks were dispatched, rather than the 100 which the Khan had requested.
Sadly, the trip to the East proved to be too taxing and harsh for the monks. They turned back before they reached the half-way mark. And the Khan? The Khan, along with much of the Far East, were content to be Buddhist.
What I have just described is a missed opportunity of monumental proportions. Sadly, the history of Scripture, humanity and our own lives, is an ongoing chronicle of missed opportunities. From Adam and Eve who squandered God’s gracious chance of life in paradise to you and me, there are always things which should have been done differently – chances we should have let go of or grasped.
We are forced to sigh in sadness, because, we cannot go back to change our mistakes. If things had remained as they were, our life in this world, as well as the next, would have been filled with regrets of witnesses not made, encouragements not given and the salvation story not shared.
To rectify our errors, to do the things we could not do is one of the reasons the Savior was born.
Jesus’ Bethlehem birth says that God is keeping His promise made to our first parents, centuries before. The life of Jesus during which every temptation was resisted, every law fulfilled is part of the payment price for our salvation. His death to win us life says that God has substituted Jesus’ blood-bought salvation for the damnation we deserved.
The coming of the Babe of Bethlehem tells us that the past can be forgiven and that we have a God-pleasing future No longer bound by the past, we can look with gladness to tomorrow, proclaiming Jesus as our Savior Who gives us salvation, hope and possibilities.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may we see Jesus as the only One Who can forgive our shortcomings and sins. Refreshed restored and redeemed, may we share the joy of salvation which comes only through faith in this Lamb. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann, one of my long-ago confirmands. He is singing with three brothers. This song comes from the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html
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