While I teach regularly at church, I rarely preach. Recently, our preacher was ill and the men of the congregation scrambled to see who’d teach a class and present two sermons that Sunday. I preached the morning sermon while two others took on the other responsibilities. Without taking anything away from us three substitutes, I proudly admit it does take three men to fill our preacher’s shoes. Anyway, we could do it because each one had something already prepared to use on short notice. We were ready, sort of.
In the past, when I got the younger people up and ready for the day I’d turn on their light. They knew it was going to happen, but I always asked them if they were ready. If they said, “Yes,” but didn’t have the covers over their heads, I’d tell them they’d better get readier.
The Bible says a lot about being ready and the more familiar we are with the Bible, the more likely we’ll survive whatever life throws at us, whether or not it comes abruptly (2 Timothy 3: 16, 17). If we’ve taken God’s word into our hearts through diligent study, we’ll have a ready recollection of it when needed (Job 22: 22; Matthew 10: 19, 20).
We’re also to be ready to do whatever good deeds God puts before us. God has prepared things for us to do; it’s up to us to prepare ourselves for those opportunities (Ephesians 2: 10; Titus 3: 1, 2; 2 Timothy 2: 20, 21; 4: 1, 2; James 1: 22-27; Ephesians 5: 15, 16; 2 Corinthians 9: 2-5).
Most importantly, we’re to be prepared for Jesus’ return. That’ll happen abruptly, but not on short notice (Matthew 24: 36-44, 30, 31; 25: 31-46; John 14: 25-29). And it’ll be ready or not, here he comes and the lights will actually go off. When we prepare ourselves to serve whenever opportunities arise, we won’t be caught off guard when Jesus returns because part of that readiness involves watching for him (Luke 12: 35-47; 2 Peter 3: 11-14; Titus 2: 11-14; 2 Timothy 4: 6-8). Then, we’ll enjoy the other things God has prepared for us, the greatness of which we cannot even fathom now (John 14: 1-3; 1 Corinthians 2: 9, 10; 2 Corinthians 12: 2-4).
Getting readier is a continuous process, and sometimes slow once it’s started. That’s how it is for me preparing lessons, sermons, and articles. But that’s OK because God will faithfully finish whatever he begins in us if we’re faithful to him (Philippians 1: 3-6; 2: 12, 13).
I hope it’s some time before I need to fill our pulpit again, but I think I’ll go ahead and start working on another sermon so it’ll be ready if the need arises. Otherwise, I’ll be ready at any time to tell anyone about the hope I have in Christ Jesus for the future (1 Peter 3: 15, 16).
Are you ready for the future (2 Corinthians 6: 1, 2)?