“Opportunity costs”

By Dave Henning / March 19, 2014

“He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.”- Ecclesiastes 11:4

Toward the end of Chapter 7 of In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, Mark Batterson notes hat the English word “opportunity” comes from the Latin phrase ob portu.  Before modern harbors were developed, ships needed to wait until the flood tide to make it into port.  If the captain and crew missed that window of opportunity when the tide would turn, they would have to wait for the next tide to come in.

Pastor Batterson adds that seizing an opportunity most often feels like swallowing a whale or chasing a lion.  Yet, at the end of our lives, it will be the missed opportunities- the “what if” questions- that haunt us.  In the business world such missed opportunities are called “opportunity costs”.  For example , Howard Schultz once purchased a small chain of  Seattle coffee shops for $4 million.  Five years later when the stock went public, its market capitalization stood at $273 million.  Had Mr. Schultz not purchased Starbucks, he would have had no actual costs.  But his opportunity costs would have been staggering.

Over the long haul, opportunity costs always are more damaging than the actual costs.  Yes, the author states, there is a time to be prudent and a time to be valiant.  It takes tremendous discernment to know the difference.

Today’s question: What opportunities have presented themselves following your vocation loss?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Don’t pity the fool!”

About the author

Dave Henning

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