In 1989, a movie was released that changed the way many people viewed life. The movie, “Dead Poets Society”, starred Robin Williams, an English teacher who surprised his students by his unorthodox methods of teaching. In the movie, he constantly encouraged his class to “make their lives extraordinary” and he did it by introducing a Latin phrase in our lexicon that would forever become part of the way we speak. The phrase was, “carpe diem”, which simply meant, “seize the day”.
Another year passes by and another comes along. Have we achieved something of significance for the Kingdom? Think about those wasted opportunities, pivotal moments in our lives, and it all boils down to one phrase – “we didn’t seize the moment.”
Several weeks ago, I was walking in my neighbourhood when I witnessed a commotion. A family had run out of their homes and they seemed to be distraught. There was a ladder with a man on top holding a pole with a net as though he was trying to catch something. The kids were crying, “come back please, come back please.” So, I stopped and asked the grandmother, in broken Mandarin, what was happening? She told me their pet bird had escaped from the cage and it was now perched right at the top of a very tall tree, and her son was trying to catch it. As they were trying to get the bird back, I prayed and said, “Lord, send the bird to me so that I can get it back to the family.”
I thought, what a testimony it’d be for them, if the bird came to me and then I present it back to the family saying, “Jesus Christ returns this bird to you.” The moment I prayed this prayer, the bird swooped down, flew straight at me, just one foot above my head and I could’ve easily put my hands up and caught it. But I didn’t. You know why? Because I wasn’t expecting the Lord to answer my prayer.
I’ve kicked myself over and over again over that moment. It was a “kairos” and I missed it. I didn’t seize the day. So, I asked for forgiveness and told the Lord that if any such an opportunity would arise again, I’d be ready for it.
Well, a couple of days later, I was invited to attend a neighbourhood committee meeting where a Minister was the guest of honour. My pastors had warned me, “Pastor Yang, this is a community event. Don’t bring up anything political like Israel and Jerusalem.” I told them that I’d certainly behave myself.
Anyways, the meeting was going on well, about the improvements that were going to be made in the neighbourhood when all of a sudden, out of the blue, the Minister in question spoke about why the Singapore Government took a stand to vote for the UN resolution to censure the US and Israel. That was a “bird moment” for me. I could just feel the bird flying over my head and I told myself I had to respond to this. So, I raised my hands, and spoke out and one thing led to another which later led to a discussion about heaven and hell, eternity, what happens to us when we die etc. I was elated at the opportunity to share.
Peter and John were walking to the Temple to pray. They passed by a lame man who was asking for alms. Peter, looking intently into his eyes, perceived faith in the man to be healed. He “seized the moment” and said, “Silver and gold I have none, but that which I have, give I to thee; in the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” That lame man stood up, and then proceeded to leap and dance. Now, that’s a notable miracle; a man who had never walked before, now leaping in the air! A huge crowd gathered and the rest is history. 5,000 people got swept into the Kingdom of God.
There are going to be amazing moments this year, that God’s going to orchestrate, which will require courage to just step out and see the miracle of God manifest. Sometimes, all it takes sometimes is just 20 seconds of insane bravery, 20 seconds of amazing courage, and I promise you, something good will come out of it. Will we play it safe or will we seize the day, and see what God can do.
Pastor Yang Tuck Yoong