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January 21, 2018

Fear of Missing Out?


With endless choices and possibilities presented to us every day from which twitter link to tap or which coffee roast to imbibe, it seems wrong to leave an opportunity unexploited.

No one wants to miss the boat, misfire or miss out. When there are things to do that would improve the experience of life, people live in fear of missing out (there is even an acronym for it) FOMO is a prevailing anxiety among us.

So if we were presented with opportunities to accomplish what we want, and what many others want, then it makes sense that we should take advantage of the opportunity.

Jesus was at that place, the place of opportunity. Herod had beheaded John the Baptist with all of the nihilism of ISIS today. Jesus would have known that his message and John’s were of the same origin. And Jesus engages in three expansive displays of his power, feeding 5000 plus, walking on water, and healing the wounded and diseased (Matthew 14.1-36).

Now Jesus had an opportunity. With this kind of power, he could have overthrown Herod, and even Rome. This opportunity lay wide open for him. He could seize it, and excel at it. But he didn’t. He chose to miss out. He chose to disappoint the expectations of others.

Why cop out? Why be a quitter? At least in today’s terms you don’t have to start something to be a quitter, you just have to fail to exploit an opportunity. Why did Jesus do this?

Jesus, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped” (Philippians 2.6). In other words, his whole character was rooted in an unwillingness to exploit the greatest of opportunities. But that is what Jesus chose as the Incarnate Son, who was crucified on the Roman torture gallows, who died an ignominious death, buried in a borrowed tomb and declared an impostor and liar.

Yet the resurrection and ascension vindicated Jesus mission and claims as God, the Son, both Lord and Savior. The unexploited opportunity looks like it would have been a wasted one. Let us thank God he missed out on that one.

[Photo credit: Fairground Carousel by Simon Howden]

About Clint Humfrey

Pastor of Calvary Grace Church in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I'm married with three sons. Views expressed on this blog are my own.