Preparation

Aside from an erroneously placed comma, I believe that this sign makes a fair point:

A friend and former colleague who knows me well give me this sign years ago. I’ve held onto it for all this time because I believe there is tremendous truth and wisdom contained in its words.

Of course, this sign doesn’t come from the Bible, but one could argue that there is an important biblical principle that work here: preparation is a good thing.

The God of the Bible is a God of order. He created the world in an orderly fashion (read Genesis 1-3 when you get a chance), and He functions from a place of peace and clarity. The Bible says as much in 1 Corinthians 14:33a (NIV):

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace….”

‭‭In fact, the chapter concludes with this important reminder:

“But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” (1 Corinthians‬ ‭14:40‬, ‭NIV‬‬)

Please hear me: I don’t see these verses as a biblical mandate to keep our homes spotless at all times (surely, I would fail on that account. Right now, my apartment is a mess!). Instead, I think God wants us to consider how we make decisions, and the manner in which we engage with those around us.

We have to be careful to not be people of chaos. God created a peaceful and organized world, but then the enemy came in and introduced chaos into the environment. Tragically, things have been messed up ever since. 

The world around us is incredibly chaotic and disruptive. We have to be careful to remember that what is normal to the world shouldn’t be normal to us as followers of Jesus. We should be people of peace, and the way we do life (and the impact we have on others) should set us apart as being different – in a good way.

But it seems to me that more often than not, we just go about our lives with no particular plan or intention. However, if we don’t plan for the chaos, then the chaos will take us out! If we don’t anticipate that the enemy of our souls succeeds by keeping us busy, confused, and frustrated, then he will continue to have victory in our lives through these time-tested methods. We have to plan (read: prepare) to counteract the chaos that we will inevitably encounter every day of our lives.

To me, this means challenging when I call the “acceptable chaos” in our everyday lives – especially within the body of Christ. Just because we are led by the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean that we can’t also prepare to serve Him and others with excellence. We should think about what we say and do before the words come flying out of our mouths.

My personal pain point – at work, at church, or pretty much anywhere – is the woefully unplanned for meeting: someone shows up, and for reasons hitherto unknown me, we seem to suddenly find ourselves in the throes of a crisis.

First off, people really appear stunned and confused.

Then, folks begin to look frustrated, with pained, “What in the world…?” expressions on their faces.

Here’s the question I have: Okay, things certainly have changed – but who says we have to be all panicked about it? And yes, we certainly should pray about things – but there’s also a time when God has us to make a plan and execute it, too.

If we find ourselves in an emergency situation because of our lack of planning, then I think that this dishonors God. From what I can tell, the Lord often works through the plans of His people; and if you don’t believe me, then take an hour or so and review the book of Nehemiah when you get a chance.

Biblical wisdom decrees that we should plan – prayerfully – and then leave room for the Holy Spirit to modify, disrupt, and/or completely alter the preparations we have made. Put another way, we shouldn’t be so attached to our plans that are unwilling forgo or change them, but we should have a plan! Otherwise, why would God equip us with an intellect, talents, and spiritual gifts?

Just some food for thought today. I’m grateful that we serve a God who equips us to do the work that He’s called us to do. We have to remember to do the work, though, and trust Him to grant us the favor needed in order to succeed.

Here is my prayer for today: Thank You, God, for equipping us with the wisdom and knowledge needed to prepare for the tasks that You put in front of us each day. Help us to not be lazy, and instead take the time to do whatever is necessary so that our efforts are marked by excellence and God-ordained favor.

And if, for some reason, we find ourselves in unexpected, lack-of-planning emergency situations, help us to stop and first appeal to You for direction. Then, guide our efforts as we prepare and plan, and kindly bless the fruit of our labors. If things don’t go as we expect, then show us the lessons You have us to learn. And if things do go well, help us to remember to thank and give glory to You. In Your name I pray, Amen.

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