Jay Sanders, pastor
Towaliga Baptist Church, Jackson
You are going to be late for work. You should have left five minutes ago. But if you hurry, you can come in through the side door and no one will notice. You’re going to cut it close but if the traffic lights and other drivers cooperate, you have a chance. You say a prayer and head out the door.
Three minutes into your drive you see something you wish you hadn’t. There is a woman two cars in front of you at the light where you are stopped. She appears to be in her 60s and has a very small frame. She is leaning against a late model car with the hood up. White smoke climbs from the engine into the morning sky. There is a look of despair on the woman’s face as she looks around for help. The other commuters drive around her, perhaps saying a prayer as they do.
There are two ways for you to look at this woman. One way is to view her as a roadblock. She is, after all, in your way to getting to work on time. Your other option is to view her as an opportunity. Perhaps your simple act of stopping to let her borrow your cell phone and to push her car out of the way while she steers it could lead to the glory of God being revealed. But it sure would be a shame to be late for work, wouldn’t it?
This is the way the book of Acts works. There is one problem after another. There are greedy church members, power-hungry government leaders, and even disputes among those representing Christ. But each roadblock actually turns into an opportunity.
No matter how busy we are, we must remember that the people and situations God puts before us are so much more than roadblocks. They are opportunities. And, like it or not, they keep on coming. So we might as well follow the example of the apostles and eagerly look for ways to demonstrate the love of Christ in the thousands of roadblocks that we encounter each day.
The roadblock – Acts 3:1-3
Peter and John were going to the temple to pray. They were doing what some call “the Lord’s work.” What could be more important than the Lord’s work?
But, as is usually the case even today, God had a plan for Peter and John that day that didn’t show up on their calendar. If we’re too busy doing “the Lord’s work” to actually share the Lord’s love, power, and glory with others, we need to reset.
The opportunity – Acts 3:4-7
All the man wanted was a little bit of cash. That’s how most broken people in our world are. They just want the help they need to get them to the next day. But Peter and John didn’t settle for that.
Rather than just passing on some coins to lighten their guilty conscience, they directed the man’s attention to something better than silver and gold. Rather than viewing this man as an obstacle to be avoided on a busy day, they saw him as an opportunity to obey Christ by being his witnesses (Acts 1:8).
The reward – Acts 3:8-10
The fact that the lame beggar was healed and went about praising God usually gets most of the attention in this story. That’s understandable. But something else happened because of the apostle’s seizing this opportunity.
While the healed man was jumping around and praising God, he was unknowingly advertising for a great sermon that Peter was about to preach. One simple act of stopping to speak the gospel to a broken man led to thousands of people hearing the gospel message.
Our lives are made up of millions of opportunities for the glory of Christ. Rarely does God give us those opportunities on our timetable. Often, they show up in the form of roadblocks. So the next time you experience a roadblock, don’t be so quick to drive around. It might just be a God-given opportunity.