Opportunity and Decision

An ancient legend says that one must seize occasion by the forelock; and it paints in dire colors the torments of those who hesitate to do so. There is truth in the allegory; for it is only those who are alert that can seize the opportunities which present themselves; and there are few pangs so torturing as those which assail us when we realize that in a moment of apathy we have allowed some golden opportunity to slip from our grasp.

It is indeed inevitable that apathy should suffer disappointment. To find that "the door was shut" was the penalty foretold in the parable for those who had left their lamps without oil. But let us beware of yielding to the merciless suggestion that such neglect is irretrievable, and that opportunities once lost never recur. That is a doctrine born of mortal mind, which knows only limitation, and which cannot understand the nature of divine pardon; it leads to repining and discouragement, and consequently to further failures and worse suffering. Apathy is subtle and dangerous. It is the condition of thought which denies the command of our Master to "watch." It is specially indicated by our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, as a product of animal magnetism (see Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 102). It would hold us asleep while it filches from us our opportunities, our energy, and our success. But once this error is discerned and rejected, there is no limit to the opportunities which, by God's grace, are still extended to us.

What deep sorrow Paul must have felt for his opposition to the teachings of Jesus, an error which had probably lost him the priceless opportunity of following the Master during his earthly career and listening to his marvelous words! "Born out of due time," he says of himself, and "not meet to be called an apostle." Yet there is nothing of repining or hopelessness in his attitude; for he goes on at once to the confident recognition of the grace of God, which had enabled him in the end to labor "more abundantly than they all."

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Silent Prayer
March 17, 1928

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