First Impressions May Be Last Impressions

When it comes to first impressions many people say that “first impressions are lasting impressions.”  Closely related is the saying that “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.”  Sometimes, though, first impressions may be last impressions, and you may not get a second chance to make an impression at all.

Last Saturday I was coaching soccer against a coach I did not know.  I had probably seen him at the coaches’ meeting, but I did not remember him; and it was the first time my team had played against his team.  During the first half he questioned the referee for not calling what he thought was a penalty (One of my players was in an offside position.).  I tried to help the referee explain why it was not a penalty (She was not involved in the play.), but to no avail.  After the second half started one of my players asked me why the other team had the same goalie as the first half (In our division you are required to have a different goalie each half.).  I told her I had not noticed and asked the other coach about it.  He affirmed that she was the same goalie and said that no one else wanted to play goalie.  When I told him he was required to have a different goalie each half, he just repeated that no one else wanted to play.  I notified the referee of the situation, so he addressed the coach about it.  The coach told the referee the same thing he told me, and the referee decided not to take any action about the situation.  I said nothing else to the other coach, shook hands with him after the game, and went on my way.  The next day I learned that he had died later that same day in an automobile accident.

I have asked myself several times since then if I would have handled myself differently in the two confrontations I had with the other coach if I had known that would be the last time I would see him alive.  Would my thoughts about him have been altered in some way?  Would I have possibly tried to talk to him about more important matters, such as his relationship with God?

The Lord commands us to set a positive example before others (Matt. 5:16).  The truth is that we may have only one opportunity to do so.  How are we using the opportunities that He gives us?  “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:16).