My heart beat wildly as I lined up in the wide
receiver position that cold December night many
Less than a minute remained on the scoreboard clock
in our state playoff game. For the first time all
season, our top-ranked and undefeated team was
behind, and we were scrambling to score.
The coach had called my play. Our quarterback would
fake a handoff to the left, roll right, and throw
the ball to me in the corner of the end zone. The
play had worked perfectly all season.
If it worked again, our team would win the game. I
would be the hero. I would certainly be carried off
the field by jubilant teammates. Maybe one of the
many college scouts there that night would notice
me. Perhaps a college scholarship offer would
come…maybe a pro career would follow.
I was brought back to reality when the quarterback
barked out “Hut One” and the ball was snapped.
The play worked to perfection, and I found myself
wide open in the corner of the end zone. To the
horror of our coach, our fans, and especially me,
our quarterback inexplicably decided to run the ball
instead of throw it.
He was tackled short of the goal line, and we lost
For many years, I have been left to wonder what
might have been.
When I think of this incident, I often think of a
young man in the Scriptures named Samson. He could
have been one of the greatest believers found on the
pages of the Bible. Instead, his life stands as an
illustration of wasted potential.
Why did Samson fail to fulfill his great promise?
Samson had dedicated parents, dynamic power, and
dynamite potential, but he also had a definite
problem. His problem was one with which most
Christian teens struggle. Samson failed to live a
Judges 13:25 gives this insight into Samson’s
struggle, “And the Spirit of the LORD began to move
him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and
Eshtaol.” There were times when Samson listened to
the voice of God and was controlled by the Spirit of
God. Sadly, this was often the exception in his life
rather than the rule.
When he was led by the Spirit, Samson did great
exploits for God. He killed a lion with his bare
hands, he slew 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of
a donkey, and other amazing feats.
When he failed to live a Spirit-filled life, Samson made one bad
decision after another. These bad decisions cost him his testimony,
his influence, his potential, and ultimately his life.
Ephesians 5:18 is clear, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is
excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” A drunken man is under the
influence of something that controls his behavior, often leading him
to make wicked decisions. A Spirit-filled man is under the influence
of Someone (the Holy Spirit) that controls his behavior, leading him
to make wise decisions.
Christian, God wants you to live a Spirit-filled life. The Lord
wants to protect you, direct you, correct you (when you stray off
course), and project you to spiritual heights you will never reach
on your own.
This simple poem has some sobering words:
Mr. Meant-To has a comrade,
And his name is Didn't-Do.
Have you ever chanced to meet them?
Have they ever called on you?
These two fellows live together
In the House of Never Win,
And I'm told that it is haunted
By the ghost of Might-Have-Been.
Determine today to listen to God’s voice, to follow the Lord’s
leading, and to do the will of the Father. Don’t waste your
potential and throw away your life.
You don’t want to look back at your life one day and wonder, “What
Might Have Been.”
[Tony Bazen of Park Meadows Baptist Church]