Be prepared…

Oftentimes in life it seems that being ready depends on angling or positioning oneself to move ahead, achieve success, gain security and so on. In the quest to do so, it can be easy to become driven and focused on determining the best stance or approach and to work toward that end. However, in the process, life can become unbalanced and the lines between what is good, acceptable, righteous and/or just, and what is not, can become blurred. When that happens, I can lose track of the very thing(s) that led me to begin a particular journey, the desire with which it all began.

Jesus says, “…be prepared.” What does that really mean though?

In my younger years, particularly as an athlete, there were many drills that my teammates and I practiced. The exercises were part of our training aimed to help us to become more skilled, individually and as a team. We were to be prepared, in shape, agile…on our toes…aware and ready to respond to whatever situation may arise on the field or on the court.

Along with all of the training, and of the utmost importance, was for each of us on the team to know our purpose or function. After all, how could any of us be prepared, awake and ready without having a good sense of our individual positions? In addition to a role in a particular position, each of us needed to be mindful and attentive to the fact that we were a team. There was more than each of us and our individual positions, and we all needed to be ready to back each other up, sometimes sliding over temporarily to another position to protect the goal or to defend the perimeter.

In every day life, it can be much the same in that it is important for me to know who I am and what my role is both individually and in a broader sense as a member of a wider community. How can I be ready and faithful without a connection to, or deeper sense of, who I truly am and the role to which I have been, or may be, called?

In sports there was always a sense of protecting or guarding each other, the team and especially our home turf. It all started though, or was rooted in, a strong sense of identity. And, while it was related to team and winning, it was so much more than that, requiring each of us to be flexible, to keep learning, to re-evaluate and reassess. We needed to look within in relation to what was happening on and around the field or court throughout each day, each game, each season and each year. Deep down it was about not letting one’s house be broken into. It was about the faith, commitment and dedication on which each of us is built; something inside of each of us while at the same time bigger than each of us, enabling us to be ready, awake and prepared.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
In those days before the flood,
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
up to the day that Noah entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.
So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.
Two men will be out in the field;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Therefore, stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
– Matthew 24:37-44
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