Always Ready

 

As a boy I belonged to the Boy Scouts. It was a lot of fun but it was also serious business to a boy that wanted to be a man. We learned about many things and got merit badges for our accomplishments. The fun was actually part of the learning. Pitching a tent, starting a fire without a match, and sending Morse code with a flashlight were all preparation for an unknown event that we might need to meet with skill and daring. Our motto was, “Be prepared.” We had an oath we took quite seriously.

*   On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

The Scout Law mentioned in the oath went like this.

*   A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

If a scout lived up to the Scout motto, and the Scout Oath, and the Scout Law it’s fair to say he was “Always Ready.”

 

If we as members of the church, the body of Christ, lived according to the Boy Scout codes I think it would be fair to say we would be always ready too. The question that needs to be answered is simply this, “Ready for what?”

 

I think there are many answers to that question but perhaps it can be summed up in the great commandment.

*   (Mat 22:37-40 NIV)  Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' {38} This is the first and greatest commandment. {39} And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' {40} All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

There are consequences that come from the religious exercise of putting these commandments into practice.

*   (James 1:27 NIV)  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

*   (John 13:35 NIV)  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

*   (Luke 22:25-26 NIV)  Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. {26} But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.

*   (Titus 3:1-2 NIV)  Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, {2} to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

And we could go on and on. But we need to be always ready to do whatever God expects of us.

 

But what if we are not always ready? Does it make a difference? The answer is yes. Yes because eternal vigilance may very well be the price of eternity.

*   (Mat 24:43-44 NIV)  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. {44} So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

*   (Mat 25:6-13 NIV)  "At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' {7} "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. {8} The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' {9} "'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.' {10} "But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. {11} "Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!' {12} "But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.' {13} "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

*   (Luke 12:35-40 NIV)  "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, {36} like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. {37} It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. {38} It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. {39} But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. {40} You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."

And if you are unfaithful in little things why would you be faithful in big things. But we, you and I, are not like that. We love the Lord and will never forsake Him: No matter what. Or will we?

*   (Luke 22:32-34 NIV)  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." {33} But he replied, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death." {34} Jesus answered, "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me."

*   (2 Tim 4:1-4 NIV)  In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: {2} Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. {3} For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. {4} They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Here is the Boy Scout motto in the Bible.

*   (1 Pet 3:15-17 NIV)  But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. 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, {16} keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. {17} It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

Finally, I am pretty certain that the Lord will not be returning tomorrow. There are just too many things that remain to be fulfilled. That being the case perhaps we can all just kick back a little and not worry so much. Not! I leave you with this parable.

*   (Luke 12:16-23 NIV)  And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. {17} He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.' {18} "Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. {19} And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry."' {20} "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' {21} "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God." {22} Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. {23} Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.

 

The future is uncertain in many ways. But the outcome of this life need not be uncertain, if we are always ready. We are instructed to pray continually and I think that should be prepared continually or be always ready.