[Papercut Press] 2000-09-04 - An Opportunity Missed

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all patience and instruction.

About 150 years ago one of the best known spiritual leaders in the world was a man named Dr. Chalmers. One evening he found himself at the home of a nobleman with several other guests, all of whom were going to be staying for the night. Dr. Chalmers was known for his eloquence in the pulpit, but was also known to excel in conversation. This evening was a common evening, as Dr. Chalmers was the life and soul of the evening's conversation.

The subject was a common topic, and for this evening, spiritual subjects were not the focus of the conversation. One of those present was the chief of one of the clans in Scotland. He listened intensively to Dr. Chalmers and though the subject was common, he still seemed to hang onto Dr. Chalmers every word. The conversation eventually came to an end and each of the guests and the host retired to their various rooms.

The room of Dr. Chalmers and the man from Scotland were across from each other. Shortly after entering their rooms, Dr. Chalmers heard a loud noise from the room across the hall which followed with a "heavy groan." Dr. Chalmers hurried to the room and found the chief fallen. He breathed a few times and expired.

Others quickly gathered into the room. Dr. Chalmers was the first to speak as all looked upon the dead, white-headed chief. "Never in my life," he started, "did I see, or did I feel, before this moment, the meaning of the text, 'Preach the word; be ready in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all patience and instruction.' Had I known that my venerable old friend was within a few minutes of eternity, I would not have dwelt on that subject which formed the topic of this evening's conversation."

He continued by giving all present, and now us, some godly wisdom, "I would have addressed myself earnestly to him. I would have preached unto him and you Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I would have urged him and you, with all earnestness befitting the subject, to prepare for eternity. You would have thought it, and you would have pronounced it, out of season. But, ah! It would have been in season, both as it respects him, and as it respects you."

That is the wisdom of experience. The sad words here are, "I would have," because they express regret at what might have been. And while we all have regrets in life, this is one of those ultimate regrets. We would all do well to learn from this and winsomely seek to speak of Christ, as Dr. Chalmers says, and of Him crucified for sin.

Soli Deo Gloria,