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Getting Ready: Not a "Last Minute" Job

Rob Stroup
Written by Rob Stroup

We have a group from Berean Baptist Church going to Turkey and Greece to see the sites where the churches of Revelation were in the first century A. D. This week we received a “What to Know Before You Go” notice including recommended clothing, weather expectations, notes about food, and accepted currencies in the countries we will be visiting. I was thankful to get this information to get ready for the trip.

Some folks in our group have traveled often, although never to this destination. Others have never been out of the country at all, and this is all new for them. Most of us are very excited, but some are also anxious about the unknowns. There are varying degrees of preparation occurring as well. Plans have been made for those that will be left behind, such as who is going to feed the goldfish, walk the dog or get the mail while we are gone. Our closest friends and family members have been told of our trip, including not only the destination, but how long we will be gone. If we have children or others that depend on us, arrangements have been made for their care. Some folks have already chosen their luggage pieces and gone shopping for items they anticipate needing for the trip. Others have decided to leave the packing until the day of departure! Some of us have spent time reading about the places we will be visiting. Websites have been scoured for reviews from other travelers, books have been read, and videos watched, trying to learn more about the places we will see. Some are just waiting until we get there to soak it all in.

It reminds me of a story I heard about an elderly gentleman. His health had been declining for years, but all of a sudden it was growing worse. His granddaughter noticed that he was spending a lot of time reading his Bible…more than ever before. Granddad, you have read the Bible and gone to church all your life. You even taught Sunday School for years. Don’t you think you already know enough? It seems like you would want to spend these last days relaxing and spending more time with your friends. He responded, You’re a college student. Often you stay up at night studying to get ready for an important test, right? Hebrews tells us “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment,” so I am cramming for my final exam!

We all know that we will die one day, and as Christians, we will be face to face with God, but I wonder how many of us are adequately prepared. Have I told my friends and family what to expect when I depart for eternity? Will my spouse be taken care of? Is the will complete? Have I communicated to them the truth about my relationship with God? Will my children know where I have gone, or will they have to just hope that maybe I had settled things with God before I died? Am I keeping my heart in fellowship with Him so I can look forward to that day with joy? It is always a blessing to lay a loved one to rest, knowing that they were certain of their eternal home. When we take a trip, to the best of our ability we try to get the details taken care of in advance. We should be even more careful to get the details handled before we take our final trip from this life into the next! It is good stewardship; it is also a demonstration of our love for others.

Consider Paul’s words:

Phillipians 4:6-8 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

These are not the words of one that waited until the last minute to get ready to go!