Excuses Kill Opportunities

CapeHatteras
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.”
-The Apostle Paul

This is the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. It was built in 1870 on Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks of Buxton, North Carolina. At 210 feet, it is the tallest brick lighthouse structure in the United States and 2nd in the world! Visiting this lighthouse is definitely on my list. Referenced only once in one of my previous devotions [Read Leaning Towers], it seems strange that I haven’t written anything about this beautiful beacon until now. Perhaps it’s because fate would have it that I come across an article about this lighthouse today and be inspired to write this encouraging post.

One of the best things about this lighthouse is that it is open to the public and anyone willing to take the challenge can climb the 257 steps from the ground to the balcony level. The journey up is equivalent to climbing a 12-story building. Its narrow stairs have a handrail only on one side and there are resting landings every 31 steps. The tower has no air conditioning and because it is usually humid, hot, and dim inside, those with heart, respiratory or other medical conditions, or who have trouble climbing stairs, are warned to climb at their own discretion/risk. 

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Climbing the historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is a unique experience. The climb is self-paced and provides spectacular views. Would you climb it given the opportunity? If you are a lighthouse aficionado like me or just love to climb and enjoy panoramic views, you most probably would. Nevertheless, it is quite an undertaking especially if you are not physically fit, are afraid of heights, or are 91 years old!

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This is Dorothy (Dot) Barker (she will be 92 in a few weeks). Dot recently climbed the 267 steps of the Cape Hatteras Light for the 6th time! Not much is said about her feat in the original news article*. However, it mentions that she remembers the tower’s original location (it was moved in 1999 due to shoreline erosion) and that she celebrated this year’s Memorial Day weekend by climbing the tower once again. I gather that Dot either loves lighthouses, was and still is adventurous, and/or does not allow excuses to keep her from the opportunity to experience a rewarding challenge. God bless you, Dot, you are an inspiration!

Has fear, low self-esteem, unworthiness, physical appearance, age, or indifference caused you to miss out on some amazing opportunities? Have these opportunities included challenges whose results you know would have been beneficial and perhaps even life-changing? Are you good in finding excuses, even when you know they are inane, to justify your lack of discipline, motivation, and/or commitment? The greatest opportunities to achieve long-lasting success and cherishable memories have been lost to seemingly good pretexts. 

We excuse our sloth under the pretext of difficulty. - Quintilian

Even if you have been guilty of making vain excuses in the past you can still overcome the dissuading attitude that robs you of the opportunities to move forward and grow intellectually, relationally, and especially spiritually. Consider the following Bible passage:

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,  speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Ephesians 5:8-20

Notice how Paul first reminds the believers in Ephesus that they are no longer in darkness but are now a LIGHT in the Lord (lighthouses for God). As a result, they are to live as such by rejecting that which is ungodly. He then commands them to shake off the defeating strongholds of laziness and lifelessness so that they may experience the life-giving light of Christ within them. He also admonishes them to be conscious of how they go about their daily lives and gives them the key to living wisely and victoriously, which is by seizing every opportunity to live soberly (temperate) in a self-gratifying world. This, he concludes, is only possible through the infilling of the Holy Spirit who then creates the perfect atmosphere for uplifting Christian fellowship (koinonia) and who produces a heart of true worship and thanksgiving. 

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Don’t allow the enemy of your soul to keep you from enjoying ALL that God has purposed for you here on earth. Even with the physical, financial, or academic limitations that you may have, you can still fulfill His plan for your life. Remember, the opportunities God gives us are not the same for everyone. Yet, they all have one thing in common, which is to bring glory, honor, and praise to Him who gives us the opportunity to experience life to the fullest. And yes, this includes marveling at his creation, creating loving memories with family and friends, and developing and using our God-given talents. If applied wholeheartedly, Paul’s message to the Ephesians can greatly help you avoid the excuses that kill opportunities.

Prayer: Loving and merciful Father, thank you for all the opportunities you’ve given me even if I have avoided or disparaged some of them. I know that it is your great love for me that so graciously gifts me with favorable chances every day. Help me to take hold of every moment I have to enjoy life, but most of all to give you all the glory and praise you deserve. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen! 

ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURES
John 4:23 (NASB) – But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV) – In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Ephesian 1:2 (BSB) – in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, would be for the praise of His glory.

John 10:10 (ESV) – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

-All Scripture is quoted from the NIV except where specified.

*Original story and photo at wavy.com


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