Monday, June 10, 2013

Opportunities by David Nobles

Have you ever wondered why an opportunity comes along when it does? Or why that specific opportunity was afforded to you? I think about things like that a lot. I also think about things that I missed.  I remember when the phrase “mediation” became a big word in the legal world. The idea is the two sides in a lawsuit get together at an impartial third party’s office and have an intense day of focused and directed negotiation. An attorney in my building, whose office was right below mine, went to a seminar to be “certified” as a mediator and actively went after the mediation business in our area. He got a lot of cases settled. Shortly after that, a bunch of lawyers, including me, obtained our certifications—but it was too late. The first guy had all the business locked up. I did a few mediations, but only a few. It was an opportunity missed. Today, courts require that ALL cases go to mediation.

I also remember the struggle to bring in business to my firm as a young lawyer. I tried lots of things but had little success. Then one day I asked my friend who was an Allstate agent to introduce me to the Allstate claims people. It turned out they were about to start a new program which would vigorously contest small cases where there was minor damage to a vehicle and no “objective” evidence of harm to the person filing the suit. I became the MIST (Minor Impact Soft Tissue) lawyer for Allstate and in six months I had over 100 cases from Allstate. Instead of receiving assignments from the partners, I was assigning cases to and supervising other attorneys. It was an opportunity seized.

I recently heard a sermon series about about Nehemiah, who led the people of Jerusalem to rebuild the wall around the city after the Babylonian captivity. Nehemiah saw an opportunity not to increase his status but to help people and with God’s help he methodically and actively recruited people to his cause and accomplished his task in amazing fashion.

I believe that one of the most powerful opportunities in the Christian world is something you and I can do right now. Like Nehemiah, we have the opportunity to help people in a dramatic way through the small group. I believe that being involved in a properly functioning small group is an amazing, life-changing thing. Do you? I believe that building friendships with people and supporting others in a small group, and doing the same thing for people new to the group is an act of worship, an act of service, and an act of discipleship. I am convinced that doing little things like inviting someone to a party or to the group, asking someone to sit with the group in church, making sure new people feel included in a variety of ways, just making a phone call, or just showing up to a party or to a group session are in fact not little things but are huge things. Every single one of us can have a ministry of involvement if we’ll just reach out and grab the opportunity.

Will you make it happen? If you’re naturally quiet or shy, you don’t have to turn into the life of the party--in your way, include people. Be willing to send an email. If you’re a person who can talk to people, well get after it! Talk to that friend on Monday. During your small group time, find somebody new or someone you don’t know very well and spend some time with them. It’s not rocket science, but you do have to be intentional.

So what will it be? Opportunity missed or seized?
Thanks to my son, David O'Dell Nobles for this article today.

Check out the interview with Karen Witemeyer (June 3) if you'd like to enter the contest to win a copy of her book, Stealing the Preacher.  You can comment on the blog or send me a personal email, or comment on facebook to enter the drawing, which will be June 15.

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