Recovering from a Missed Opportunity

We’ve been having problems with our minivan.  The main issue is proving to be quite enigmatic because it’s been in and out of the shop four times since we bought it ten weeks ago.  The whole thing is kind of maddening because the van is only a year old, but we’re asking the Lord to help us trust him.  Each time I take the van back up to the dealership, I deal with same service agent.  Yesterday, was my latest trip up there and this service agent said something to me that God must be honored for.  He said, “Thank you for not going off on me.”  In other words, “Thank you for not getting in my face, yelling at me, and demanding that things be done perfectly.”  He went on to talk a bit about the people who do treat him in this way and I explained to him that I understand he is not the one who designed the vehicle and put it together.

Last night as I was describing this interchange to my wife, she asked the question, “Did you say anything to him about the gospel?”  Immediately, my heart sank.  Not only had I not said a thing about the gospel, but it did not even enter my mind to bring up Christ to this man.  What went wrong?  What was my problem in that moment?  Why did I not recognize the opportunity and jump on it?  The door was wide open for me to tell him of the Savior who has made me different than all the others who had berated him, and I blew it!

In evaluating the situation and asking myself what was going on in my heart, I’ve come to the conclusion that I walked in that dealership yesterday with a “you better have fixed it this time” attitude.  I was preoccupied with ME, seeing myself as a victim of this car company’s neglect, and holding onto a sense of entitlement that kept me from setting my mind on Christ and thinking of the soul of this man who has been trying to help me.  I was blinded by the lie that I deserve to be served, when the truth is I deserve only hell.

How am I to respond to my sinful preoccupation?

  • First, I must confess it as sin and ask God for forgiveness, remembering that sin is not only the bad I do but the good I don’t do.
  • Second, I must praise the Lord at the remembrance of the cross of Christ by which that sin is forgiven and the righteousness of Christ by which God still loves me perfectly.
  • Third, I must pray that God would help me to forget myself and recognize the opportunities all around me to proclaim his excellencies.
  • Fourth, I must take advantage of the occasions when my mind is freed up to fill it with God’s word instead of thoughts that only serve to bolster my already bulging ego.

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About Brent Osterberg

Ransomed sinner, husband to Keri, father to the kiddos three, associate pastor at Calvary Bible Church in Fort Worth, TX, and lover of most things epic. View all posts by Brent Osterberg

2 responses to “Recovering from a Missed Opportunity

  • lbtk

    Brent, if your van is still having problems, then God may just give you the chance to make right your missed opportunity. Have you thought that God might be using this van issue until He gets your attention and the attention of the service attendant? I’m praying for that service agent. May God ready his heart for a ministry chance from you. Sandy

  • David I.

    Those situations are so easy to miss! I had a similar experience where a person I was dealing with was expecting me to be angry, demand my money back, or otherwise “go off” on them. My wife and I were kind, respectful, and gracious to her. She said “You must have the patience of Job!” We didn’t know what to say and sort of blew it off. About 15 min later I was convicted that I just took the credit for myself and I should have pointed to the kindness of Christ instead.

    As you say, these are golden opportunities to treat people with the kindness of Christ and point them to Him when they ask why we are different!

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