The weather in Texas has changed drastically as of late. It seems like the second November came, someone flipped a switch that turned the weather from summer to some sort of weird half-winter hybrid. In the mornings when I leave for school or work, it is very chilly outside, usually in the 40’s. So I put on my jacket and brace myself for the cold as I bike to campus. But when I go outside around lunchtime, the temperature is now in the mid–70’s, and my jacket is not only unnecessary but extremely uncomfortable. So I’m forced to take it off and carry it with me. But by around 5:30 or 6:00 when the sun is setting, it cools off again, and I’m glad to have my jacket with me. As you can imagine, this mix of warm and cold weather is frustrating when I’m considering what to wear.
While pondering this strange situation I’ve found myself in (and realizing that Texas weather isn’t always perfect as I had hoped it would be), I got to thinking about preparation. How difficult it can be. How much effort it takes. How annoyed I can get sometimes when I’m trying to be prepared. But also how necessary, useful, and wonderful preparedness can be. Because as much as I hate carrying that jacket around, I am always grateful to have it when the temperature drops and I find myself in need of it.
As Christians, we are called to “be ready in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). This was Paul’s command to Timothy when Paul knew he was near death, but it applies to all of us. One of the marks of spiritual maturity is being prepared to do the Lord’s work, even when we think we’re “out of season” or on a break. Often, the opportunities to connect with others and share God’s love with them come when we least expect them, and that’s why we have to be ready.
Just like with my jacket and this Texas weather, being prepared can sometimes be a pain. It requires quite a bit of effort, and it often feels useless. What happens when you spend a good deal of time and energy preparing, but nothing ever comes of it? You may be tempted to get discouraged, but take heart. Opportunities to serve God are everywhere. There’s always one right around the corner, even if you can’t see it. So be prepared. You never know what God may be planning to do through you today.
But how does a Christian get prepared? How are we to be ready at all times, even in the “off season?” What does that even mean? To me, the preparation begins with our personal relationship with Christ. If you’re being intentional about your prayer life and spending time with God and his word every day, you’re a lot more likely to be ready to follow the Holy Spirit when he calls on you. How can you do what God is calling you to do if you’re not making time to listen to him?
Another aspect of being prepared is looking for opportunities to serve God, often in the most unlikely places. We live in a world that desperately needs God’s love. We come into contact with people everyday who are living without the saving grace and amazing love that we enjoy. You can share God’s love with someone through small things, like a simple smile to a stranger on the street or just asking someone how they’re doing and actually listening. Or it may be something a little bigger like a co-worker asking you a question about God or your church asking you to help serve the poor. Opportunities to serve God and love others come in all shapes and sizes. But we have to be prepared for them.
So I’m going to try to stop complaining about carrying my jacket around so much. The truth is that I should appreciate it whether I need it or not, and when I do need it, I’m always glad to have it with me. In the same way, let us all make an effort to be ready to serve God always and make a difference in our world. Thank you guys for reading, and I hope you have a blessed week!