When your time comes, whenever some special moment presents itself, will you be ready?
There’s a line in the animated film, “The Lion King,” in which the villain, Scar, sings to his cohorts, “Be prepared.” It has also been a favored motto in a more positive sense, with the Boy Scouts. More than 100 years ago, an English soldier coined the slogan, explaining it means, “you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.”
This idea is hardly restricted to movie characters or those involved in scouting. It’s a mindset we see manifested nearly every day. Think of 2015, when three Americans aboard an express train to Paris – two of them soldiers – thwarted a terrorist’s attempt to kill dozens of passengers. Or the firefighter who just weeks ago caught an infant dropped down from a window in a burning building
For the sports-minded among us, Tua Tagovailoa serves as an excellent example. A highly regarded, but rarely used freshman quarterback from Hawaii, he was thrust into the spotlight in the second half of this year’s College Football Playoff Championship, leading Alabama to victory. Prior to kickoff, no one predicted him to emerge as star of the game.
Each one of the individuals above was ready for the moment when it came. In their own ways, all had trained their minds and bodies for such a time, even though they could not have envisioned when or how it would appear. For Tagovailoa, it also became a time to acknowledge that God had given him the opportunity, as well as the capacity to respond as needed.
We might not face such dramatic circumstances, but we never know when the moment will come when the Lord calls us to step up. I think of a friend, the general manager of a manufacturing company, who had an unusual, very unexpected opportunity to speak about his faith in Jesus to an important client visiting from another country.
The client had learned about an upcoming event at my friend’s church, which prompted him to ask a series of questions. Coming from a nation where most people follow a very different religion, he expressed sincere curiosity about Christianity and Jesus Christ. My friend responded by following the instructions of 1 Peter 3:15, “… Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
He had been ready for the moment, even without any advance indication that a meaningful spiritual discussion was in the offing.
Being in a state of readiness is important for anyone who follows Christ. I’m reminded of Jesus’ story in Matthew 25 about 10 virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five wisely had taken oil in jars for their lamps; the others did not. While the foolish ones left to retrieve the oil to keep their lamps lighted, the bridegroom arrived. Arriving late, the women weren’t permitted into the banquet hall.
Jesus’ moral to this story was, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” (Matthew 25:13).
Then there’s the account of the Lord’s night in the garden of Gethsemane, where He agonized in prayer over the trial, scourging and crucifixion He was about to face. He had taken Peter, James and John with Him, admonishing them to, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
The Bible declares one day Christ will come back, and for that we also need to be ready. Both 1 Thessalonians 5:2 and 2 Peter 3:10 declare, “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” We don’t want to be like foolish women who were unprepared. Whether it’s the imminent return of Christ, or a spontaneous, unplanned moment when we can perform a very special act of service, will we be ready?
Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.