Opportunity Cost vs. Opportunity Gain

Do you look back in regret at the lost opportunities in your life?

So many live a life of regret.  They spend their productive hours ruminating on what could have been, what should have been, what might have been or the failure of what did occur.  Who do you know who fits that category?  Perhaps a friend, family member, staff or even occasionally you?

Job reflects on his birth this way: 

Job 3:5 (NLT)

Let the darkness and utter gloom claim that day for its own. 

Let a black cloud overshadow it, and let the darkness terrify it.


Are you discouraged? Job certainly nailed the emotional component.

Perhaps not with the drama, but we all can identify with the emotion.  As leaders we come face to face with discouragement. How often? if leading, then often in some part of each day.

In addition to discouragement, there is simply the issue that “stuff happens”.  Plans go awry.  Sometimes it is because of poor planning, sometimes it’s poor execution, and sometimes outside, unexpected realities totally destroy the best of plans. 

 Whether it be a personal issue or response to one, or a ministry/business issue or response to one, each and every activity has an outcome. There is a gain or loss, moving forward or backwards, there is a net result of all our plans, actions, and implementation strategies. 

Peter Drucker said: "Yesterday's actions and decisions, no matter how courageous or wise they may have been, inevitably become todays problems, crises and stupidities." 

Now there is a reality we can all identify with!

The opportunity lost I'm discovering, is the amount of productive time that "retiree's" could provide to ministries. While many do, most Christian workers, ministry minded leaders, and business oriented Christians, do not even begin to think about ministry in their retirement years until after they retire. Let's examine the reality of lost opportunity and the potential for gain


The definition of OPPORTUNITY COST IS:

The loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. 


We know that each choice has consequences. The idea of Opportunity Cost allows us to measure that cost. 

Conversely, the idea of Opportunity Gain, allows us to measure the incremental gain for a decision, choice, and course of action. 


How big is the opportunity for gain in the Kingdom?

Because of our longevity, a tremendous opportunity exists for the Kingdom.  When understood and acted upon aggressively, the size of the Gained Opportunity is huge. When not understood, or addressed, the size of the Lost Opportunity is monumental.



 Here it is: 

  • 20% of the population equaling about 50,000,000 will be “elderly” by 2030.
  • If we even take a decade, a 10 year period, and calculate a number equal to “availability” of productive time, the number is more than huge.

Let me try to figure it out:  You can argue with the numbers but you’ll see the point.

  1. 12 hours per week of productive time
  2. 52 weeks in a year = 624 hours
  3. 624 divided by 8 hours per day = 78 days a year
  4. 78 day x 50,000,000 people = 3,900,000,000 days per year
  5. Times 10 years equals  39,000,000,000 day of opportunity lost
  6. That equals over 106,000,000 years.

If your ministry had additional productive input equal to 500 hours a month.  How would you manage it and what would be the impact for the Kingdom?  Let's think about this some more and address it in future times together. 


This is just a small example and only takes a 10 year period.

The ramifications and implications are “gigantic” for the Kingdom!