by Charles R. Swindoll
We preachers receive some hilarious stuff in the mail, which helps compensate for the periodic blasts that come our way (usually unsigned). I'm particularly grateful for a friend of mine who never fails to lift my spirits by passing on something he has read or heard that I might be able to use.
One item I found especially fascinating was a series of statistics from a book by Daniel Weiss titled One Hundred Percent American, in which the author sets forth a sequential series of percentages (from 1% to 100%) that tell us some interesting facts about Americans. For example:
1% of Americans read the Bible more than once a day;
15% of American married men say they do most of the cooking in the household;
30% of Americans smoke cigarettes;
42% of Americans cannot name a country near the Pacific Ocean;
67% of Americans believe files are being kept on them for unknown reasons;
70% of Americans own running shoes but don't run;
84% of Americans believe heaven exists;
94% of American men would change something about their looks if they could;
96% of American school children can identify Ronald McDonald (who is second only to Santa Claus);
99% of American women would change something about their looks if they could.
I remember the old saying that "statistics usually lie and liars use statistics," so I'll not press the point on any of Mr. Weiss's figures. Instead, I'll refer to another item from my friend: a Frank and Ernest cartoon where the two characters are standing before a priest and Frank asks, "How come opportunity knocks once, but temptation beats at my door every day?"
Frank is right: Temptation beats at our door every day. But when it comes to opportunity, who can say how rare it is? Less than 10%? Less than 5%? Probably so.
Looking back over your shoulder, you probably cannot name one opportunity that lingered, gathering dust. The age-old aphorism remains true: "Four things come not back: the spoken word; the speeding arrow; time past; the neglected opportunity."
Time is short. Opportunity is knocking. Please answer it. One hundred percent of those who do find themselves blessed.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.