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Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Being prepared!

Although a member of the Boys' Brigade (and the Lifeboys, before that) for many years, I always appreciated the motto of the Scout movement: "Be prepared".

I thought about it earlier today as I, first of all, made my way over to Coatbridge, by bus.  We reached the stop at Motherwell Railway Station, where a long queue of prospective passengers was waiting to board the bus.  Second one on was a young girl with a buggy.  Judging by the length of the queue, and her position in it, she must have been there for the best part of ten minutes - if not longer.  However, it was only when she declared her destination that she thought to check her purse - and discover that she didn't have sufficient change.  She did have a £10 note - but was, understandably, not prepared to put that in a 'no change given' ticket machine!   I did wonder what she had been doing as she waited for the bus to arrive.  It would have helped the other passengers if she had been prepared!

My reason for going to Coatbridge was to make some purchases at the large B&Q store there, and that are not stocked in the smaller Motherwell store.  As I waited at the checkout, the gentleman in front of me had some garden trellis in his trolley and, on top, a bundle of clips for attaching same to the posts.  The young lady at the check-out asked him how many there were.  "I don't know!", came the reply!  She had to count them, herself.  I wondered if he had not come in with the objective of purchasing a specific number; if he had not counted them as he placed them on top of the trellis; if he had not thought to count them before making his way to the check-out.  Someone else who would have made life a little easier for others if only he had been prepared!

Of course, these specific examples of people not being prepared only caused some minor inconvenience to a few others, and a little embarrassment to them.  Other failure to prepare has much greater consequences!

The Bible reminds us that this life is not all that there is.  Oh, I know that there are sceptics who claim that, when they die, there will be 'nothingness'!  I would so love to be at the bedside of one of them when their own death is approaching.  Perhaps, at that point, they would not be as confident - and I might even be able to point them in the right direction.

Be that as it may, God's written Word encourages us to 'be prepared'.  It's the main point of the well-known parable of the wise and foolish virgins (see Matt.25:1-46).

Disciples of Jesus are also encouraged to be prepared to "... make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,..." (I Peter 3:15).  We are also to be prepared for the Rapture of the saints: "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed." (I Cor.15:51-52).

Lack of preparation in matters spiritual will not merely cause some inconvenience.  For the unprepared, it will result in eternity without God - but being fully aware of the reality of His existence.

Are you prepared?  Don't leave it until it's too late.  And don't presume on how much time you have!  Remember the Police Scotland helicopter crash just before Christmas; remember the Venezuelan former beauty queen and her husband, gunned down in their car (and their young daughter seriously injured; remember the American helicopter crash that was on the news this evening.

So many people, who set out to work, and to socialise, and to drive, with no idea that within a few hours, they would be dead!  I trust that many of them were prepared.  I trust that you are, too!

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