Lessons from Life
Weekly Message

Title:   The "Chance" Encounter
By Randall Vaughn
"Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." (Eph 5:15-16 NIV)

It is so easy to fall into the subtle trap of complacency and begin to think that what we do today really doesn't matter in the "big scheme of things".   It is only the "big things" that really matter.   Right?  

If you think so, read on.

I believe that God arranges special encounters for us from time to time to remind us that our lives could have been very different than they are today, but for one person or one "chance" event, word, or action. 

I had just such a "chance" encounter today.

I had not planned to go out for lunch today, but after several unexpected delays, I reached a "stopping place" much later than I would have liked.

I had in mind to go to a certain local restaurant to get a quick lunch so I could get back to work.   (When I am eating alone, I usually take "work" with me, and today was no exception.)

About the time I finished eating and was about to make a few notes of some things that had come to mind earlier for a new website I am working on, I saw a pastor friend coming in with his wife. 

It had been a long time since I had seen Cecil.  I greeted him and, as has been our custom, we were immediately in deep conversation about ministry.

Cecil asked about Rosemarie, my wife.  I told him that she died two and a half years ago.  His eyes teared, and he shared with me how much he had admired and respected her.  

He then asked me if she had ever told me how they met.  She had not.

Cecil and I were on staff together at a church about twenty five years ago.  He was the leader of the bus ministry and I was Minister of Music.  He is a "soul winner" at heart, and his level of enthusiasm for it is, on a scale of one to ten, at least thirty seven!

He went on to tell me about the day that he and his team visited a particular neighborhood and how they visited each home, knocking on doors, talking with those who would talk to them, inviting them to church.  

He went on to tell how, on this particular day, he and his team led a "sweet beautiful Italian lady" to the Lord.

He said that she immediately became a part of the church and was one of the most "hungry for God" people he had ever seen.  

That lady was Rosemarie and that church was where we met those many years ago.

Now, I was in tears.  

I immediately flashed back to my brief and wonderful relationship with her and the impact she had on my life and this ministry.  (I described in a previous One Minute Message how this ministry likely would not have come to exist had it not been for Rosemarie.  Read "You are still that same man!" in the One Minute Message Archive.

I also flashed back to memories of the years I had attempted to sidestep the call of God on my life and how Cecil kept crossing my path.  He knew me.  He knew what I should be.  He prayed for me.  He knew I was not being that which I should have been.  He said things that provoked me and made me angry at times.  He was relentless.  He "held the line" for me.  And I love him for it today!

I told him that, unknown to him at the time, he had played a very strategic role in this ministry. 

Now it was his turn to be in tears.

You see, had Cecil not gone out into that neighborhood that day, and knocked on doors and visited people, he would not have encountered that "sweet beautiful Italian lady".  She would not have become a part of that church.  I would not have met her.  She would not have joined my choir.  She would not have become my wife later.  

She would not have had the opportunity to bring the restoration and life of God to a broken man that had abandoned hope.  And E-MIN would not exist today!

"Never-ever-ever-never-ever-never" allow yourself to become complacent and think that what you do today -- literally today -- THIS day -- does not matter.  

Any encounter has the potential to be a "Divine Appointment", a life-changing event for you or someone else, or an opportunity for you to be used of God to impact someone's life in a strategic way.

Cecil thought he impacted the life of one woman that day.

In reality, he impacted the lives of every person that will ever benefit from the ministry of E-MIN.

Because of his effort, Rosemarie chose to accept Jesus as her Savior that day and is with Him this day.

And because of what he did for Rosemarie, he played a role in bringing the light of God's hope to a hopeless man years later.

That is a fact.  

I know. 

I am that man.

But for a "chance" encounter at lunch, Cecil would never have known about the tens of thousands that his actions are affecting today -- THIS day -- through E-MIN. 

You are reading this very message TODAY because of what he did over twenty five years ago!

Make the most of every opportunity.

You may never know the lives you are impacting if you do.   

But I can say with certainty that you will never know the lives you could have impacted if you do not.

G. Randall Vaughn

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"Lessons from Life" ™ is written by Randall Vaughn
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