Missed Opportunities

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

Bjarni Herjulfson was an experienced sailor. From his home base in Norway, he had sailed throughout the known world, including frequent voyages to Greenland, the faraway island to the west where many Norwegians (including his parents) had settled.

But during one voyage around 986 AD, his ship was blown off course. Driven by strong winds, he and his shipmates became completely lost. When the winds became calm, Herjulfson was relieved to see land but did not recognize any features. But he knew it wasn’t Greenland, lacking any of the mountains and glaciers so present in his original destination.

As author Rick Beyer describes, his crew begged him to land and learn more about this new world. But Herjulfson just wanted to go home. Lacking initiative and curiosity, he lost this opportunity for a place in history.

Why? Without knowing it, he and his crew had crossed the Atlantic and “discovered” the North American continent, becoming the first European to see the New World. He also could have been the first to set foot on this land. Instead, without leaving the boat, he headed back out to sea.

Years afterward, he told this story to a friend, who decided to retrace Bjarni’s course. That friend was Leif Eriksson, who did have boldness to leave his ship. Willing to step out into the unknown, Eriksson is known as the first to have “discovered” the land that Herjulfson first saw. In fact, summarizing Herjulfson’s life, the Norse sagas commented that “he lacked curiosity.”

History is full of people like Herjulfson. People who had opportunities but lacked vision and curiosity. Who were reluctant and timid, afraid to step out in faith.

Today, think about your life? Are you afraid or bold? What opportunities has God brought into your life? Ask Him to open your eyes to see the world as He sees it. Be ready to step out in faith!