Focal passage: Joshua 1:1-9
Several years ago, I saw a billboard on I-85 in Spartanburg, S.C., that stated: “Nursing: the opportunity that knocks twice.”
I was never certain what that billboard meant because opportunity seldom knocks twice. If one ignores an opportunity, the next time it knocks, it is not an opportunity. It is an issue. Many Christians and churches close the door to opportunities because they are unwilling to take a chance. The Christian life is filled with new opportunities for witness, growth, progress, new life and hope. But opportunity doesn’t always knock twice. Two words are very important as we face opportunities.
One dangerous word is tomorrow. Richard Crowder writes about driving through the mountains of North Carolina and hearing on the radio a stem-winding radio evangelist preaching on “Satan’s Favorite Word.” Crowder listened for 15 minutes as the preacher ranted about Satan’s favorite word, but he never said what it was. Just as Crowder started to change stations, the preacher shouted, “Satan’s favorite word is tomorrow. Satan would rather hear you say tomorrow than any other word in the English language.”
The word tomorrow has a paralyzing effect on humans. The Bible doesn’t have much good to say about tomorrow. In fact, the Bible warns about putting off until tomorrow what we should do today. If a person says tomorrow often enough, it becomes the only word he knows how to say.
The second wonderful word is now. The word now is used in the Bible 1,582 times. It almost always means the same thing: God’s acceptable moment is now, and we have an opportunity, right now. If we do not act now, the moment may never come again. Yesterday is gone, and there is not one thing we can do to bring it back or to change what happened.
Tomorrow is not yet here. One can plan for tomorrow and dream about tomorrow, but what happens tomorrow largely depends on decisions that are made right now.
Joshua believed in the importance of “now.” He led the children of Israel back into the Promised Land. Shortly after arriving, he gathered the Israelites at Shechem. His speech to them was bold. He told them of a new opportunity God was giving them, and then he spoke powerful and challenging words: “Choose you this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” He was not threatening them. He was setting before them a new opportunity. The God of the church is that same God.