How Mistakes Can Become Opportunities

From time to time I repost an article I’ve written some time ago. This post was written in December 2012. Enjoy

Sometimes mistakes can turn into opportunities.  A week ago, a man came into the church and asked if I could help him with some grocery money.  This is not an unusual occurrence – on a weekly basis, people make the same or similar requests.

I can think of one guy who has come in enough over the years that we’re on a first name basis.  One time he asked for grocery money or vouchers, and when I didn’t have any, he asked for a computer.  When I told him I didn’t have a computer to give him, he asked for a guitar.

I actually did have a guitar I could give him!  I had just bought a new one and my old guitar was taking up space at home.  When I gave him the guitar, he right away thanked me, and then, with hardly taking a breath, asked me if I had a case for it!

A couple of days later, I saw him walking downtown on the main street, with my old guitar in his hand (no case).  But about a week after that, he came to me again and asked if I had another guitar, because the one I gave him was stolen.  I had to break the news to him that I had run out of old guitars.

He accepted the news quite well.  I say that because some people don’t take a negative answer very well.  Sometimes they get upset, so I’m careful not to promise what I can’t deliver.

That’s how I made my mistake a week ago.  There was something about this man who had asked me for grocery money.  As I listened to him briefly tell me his situation, something about his story seemed to stick with me.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything to give him at the time.

I told him to come back the next day and I’d have a grocery store gift card for him.  That was all fine, except I forgot to purchase the gift card.  So, when the appointed time came, I still had nothing for him.

I quickly looked around to see, if by chance, there was a card we could give him . . .  nothing.  Then my associate, offered to go and purchase a gift card while the man waited at the church with me.  It seemed like our only solution, so of he went.

I decided to use the time to get to know this man a little bit.  We had a conversation about his life, what had gone wrong, and his plan to get back on track.

Then I just started sharing about how God loved him and wanted to help him in his life.  I explained to him who Jesus was, what He came to do, and what He has offered us.  By the time my associate came back with the gift card, we were talking about how he could have a relationship with Jesus.

In the end, I prayed with him, gave him a Bible and the grocery gift card.  He left satisfied on a couple of levels.

Here’s the thing:  If I had not forgotten to get that gift card, I would have had a brief conversation with that man and sent him on his way.  But my mistake led to an opportunity to share Christ’s love with a man who really needed it right then.  I need to remember to always look for opportunities … even in mistakes.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question:  What mistakes have you made that turned into opportunities for you?  Leave your comment below.

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