This week at WNW we wrapped up this brief series called "30 Pieces" looking at the life of Judas Iscariot. We opened the night with a worship set that included "Oh Happiness" (David Crowder Band), "Running to You" (Newsboys), and debuted "Dry and Brittle" (They Came Running). We then went straight into the message.
After a brief review of the previous week I shared a story about a wasted opportunity of mine. When I played basketball in the 8th grade we were playing a game that was really close and went into the last few seconds of the game tied. One of our guard shot a 3-pointer and missed which I rebounded. With just a few seconds left I went up for the game winning shot, rushed it....and missed. The game then went into overtime, and we lost. It does not bother me anymore, but then I completely blamed myself for that lost. I had an opportunity to win the game and be the hero but I wasted it. When we look at the life of Judas Iscariot we see the epitome of someone who wasted opportunities. Judas would have walked around following Jesus day in and day out listening to all that He taught. Judas could have asked Jesus any question. He could have received help in any matter that he needed. He could have exchanged the burden of sin for the easy yoke that Jesus offers. Sadly though Judas wasted these opportunities.
Probably just a few days before Judas went to the leaders to conspire to betray Jesus for the small piece of money, he would have heard Jesus teach the "parable of the talents" in Matthew 25:14-30. Jesus teaches this parable to warn of the dangers of wasting opportunities. We often look at this parable to talk specifically about money sine a talent is a measure of weight in relation to money. While we definitely need to consider that when reading this parable, I think we need to consider being a good steward of the opportunities that God places before us as well. We also read about this in Ephesians 5:15-16. I challenged the students that they have an amazing opportunity to come to church and be challenged with God's Word each week. They also have the opportunity to learn from God's Word daily as we have the privilege of having the entire Bible. I challenged them to not waste the opportunity they have to grow in their faith at events such as Disciple Now, MFuge, and Younite. We can learn from Judas that it is possible to be near Jesus and associate with Him closely but be hardened in sin and not transformed. Judas followed Jesus daily and heard His teachings, but never let it take residence in his heart. When we waste these opportunities then we kiss Jesus with betrayal for something that is less valuable than 30 pieces of silver.
I ended the night challenging the students to search their hearts to see what path they are headed down. It is quite possible that you are going down the same path as Judas simply because you do not take advantage of the life that Jesus offers and waste the opportunities that God has placed before you.