BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
There are two kinds of people: those who are preparing themselves for opportunities and those who are sitting down wishing that luck will come their way. Luck is good fortune but it is also chance happening of a favorable or unfortunate event (bad luck). But the second category of people I’ve mentioned, those who are not preparing themselves for opportunities, are hoping that good luck will come their way. On the highway of life, there are such good luck seekers. Sitting idle and wishing that luck will come one’s way is not God’s instruction to His children. God’s Word is to be up and doing following His leadings; God’s instruction is to get busy making oneself ready.
In Luke 12:35-48, Jesus, talking to his disciples about his coming, told them to get themselves prepared. “Be dressed for service and well prepared, as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. There will be special favor for those who are ready and waiting for his return. I tell you, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, there will be special favor for his servants who are ready!” (Luke 12:35-38, NLT). He didn’t ask them to sit down passively waiting for his coming.
Although the passage is talking specifically about the Lord’s return, it also tells us exactly the attitude that the Lord wants believers to have in the conduct of the affairs in life. There is no room for loafing around and playing casino with life. German-born U.S. physicist, Albert Einstein said, “I shall never believe that God plays dice with the world.” Don’t play dice with your life! Face life purposefully and deliberately; don’t gamble.
Don’t live your life depending on chance occurrence. Only those who make themselves ready for what they desire will be rewarded not those who do nothing to prepare for what they love to enjoy but which they do nothing to prepare for. The proof of expectation is preparation.
Only those who truly expects Jesus’ return will prepare for him. Matt 24:44 says, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (NKJV). What does it mean to be ready with regard to the return of Jesus? This is what I want to deal with in this message.
What it means to be ready
1. To occupy till Jesus comes. That is to be productively busy till Jesus comes. Luke 19:13-14 says, “So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come’”(NKJV). He didn’t say we should sit down idle just expecting his return rather his return should meet us working.
2. To keep waiting. In Luke 12:36, the Bible says, “And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately” (KJV). To wait here is not talking about being passive or idle. It means to keep a watchful look – not to give up expectation of his return – such that when he comes there is an instant response because of watchful waiting.
3. To keep your lamp burning. In the parable of the five foolish virgins and the five wise virgins in Matt 25, Jesus tells us that at midnight when the bridegroom came, they all had slept but only the wise virgins had extra oil to put in their lamps. The foolish virgins who didn’t make themselves ready by having extra oil began to beg the five wise virgins for oil. “And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves’” (NKJV). That was a good answer from the wise virgins. It really shows that they were wise. Everybody is responsible for his spiritual growth and preparedness.
The foolish virgins did not adequately make themselves ready for the person they were waiting for. This lack of adequate preparation showed when the bridegroom delayed in coming. They ought to have prepared themselves for any eventuality. Lazy people hardly do that. That they eventually took the counsel of the wise virgins to buy oil from those selling showed that money was not their problem. They had money but they made only minimal preparation which was not enough. Why didn’t they buy the oil initially? Even if they didn’t eventually use it, it wouldn’t have been a waste. A student does not lose anything if he over-prepares for an exam. A good football coach does not train his team for a ninety minute match alone. He trains them for every imaginable match situation including a worst-case scenario.
4. To keep doing what the Lord has assigned to you to do. It is to commit yourself to doing the will of the Lord. Luke 12:42-44 says, “And the Lord said, ‘Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes” (NKJV). When you are faithful in doing what God has assigned you to do, it shows that you are making yourself ready for his return. His return will be a blessing to you. Those who do otherwise will never desire his return because they know that punishment awaits them as reward. “And that servant, who knew his lord’s will, and made not ready, nor did according to his will, shall be beaten with many (stripes)” (Luke 12:47, ASV). This also applies to your business, office work, academics, etc. Faithfully do your assignment or duty.
5. To be willing to do God’s work. God does not desire reluctant workers but willing workers whether it is ecclesiastical work or what is often called secular work. Those who do God’s work grudgingly have no reward from Him. That is why in 1 Peter 5:2, Peter told the elders to “Care for the flock of God entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly — not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God” (NLT). And in 2 Cor 9:3, Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians that the reason he was sending Titus and the other brother to them was “just to be sure that you really are ready” (NLT). Also in Titus 3:1, Paul, talking about the Cretans, asked Titus to “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work” (NKJV).
In the work of the Kingdom of God, God wants all His children to be ready to do what is expected of them. No one should be lazy looking for easy way out; looking for result without labour. The same attitude should rule every department of our lives including family life, work life and social life. Every child of God should prepare and get himself ready for what he or she desires or is praying for. Are you praying for a husband? How much of a wife have you become through preparation? You must be a wife material even before you get married; the same is true of a man. Take note of what Prov 18:22 says: “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD” (NKJV). Are you a wife material or just a searching sister? Someone who is not preparing himself for the promotion that he desires from God will be a non-performer even if he or she gets the position.
Stop looking for luck
Don’t live your life just hoping for good luck; work for what you desire and prepare yourself for it so that you won’t become a disaster if or when you get it. Someone has said, “Good luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparation” Think about that. I love a statement credited to South African golfer, Gary Player, who won major championships in three decades including World Match-Play Championship five times. He said, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” That’s profound. Think about that also.
Instead of loafing around looking for luck, work and you will be lucky! Work even harder and you will luckier! In his letter to the Thessalonian Christians, Paul said, “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thess 3:10, NKJV).
I find a statement by U.S. business executive and philanthropist, Armand Hammer, very useful to illustrate how work can make you lucky and hard work even luckier. He said, “When I work 14 hours a day, seven days a week, I get lucky.” I’m sure you understand the meaning of that statement. It’s simply talking about diligence. Don’t work seven days; work six days. I respect the Sunday Sabbath and I expect every believer to keep it holy. Make yourself ready for the Sunday Sabbath too. As it’s been said, seven days without a sabbath or God makes one weak.
Without recommending that you work to the point that your health breaks down, I’m saying make yourself ready for Jesus’ coming, for the future you desire for yourself, for that promotion that you’re looking forward to, etc. Get yourself ready! That is a good sense. According to Anne Tyler, U.S novelist, “People always call it luck when you’ve acted more sensibly than they have.”
Make the motto of the Boy Scouts, “Be prepared”, your watchword in life. Live ready. Louis Pasteur, world-renowned French chemist and biologist said, “Chance favors only the prepared mind.” I’m also saying: Be prepared; make yourself ready. Stop day dreaming.“Therefore, m y beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Cor 15:58, NKJV).
Conclusion: If you’ll make yourself ready and do what God expects of you, you can rest assured that God is ready to perform His Word concerning you. Your readiness and expectation shall not be in vain. God’s opportunities will meet your preparation. “Then the LORD said to me, ‘You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word’” (Jer 1:12, NKJV).
If you’re not born again, you need to make yourself ready for eternity. I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God.”
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523