At the time I am writing this article the first hurricane of the
year has hit land, has been down-graded to a tropical storm, and
is headed toward Thomasville. There is a tornado watch in effect
until 11:00 PM, and evacuation plans are on the minds of some people.
We are not expecting serious storms, but some folks are preparing
for electrical outages, flash floods, and high winds.
As the day progresses, the storms are moving closer with lightening
on the horizon. I have made greater preparations than necessary
in hopes of weathering any possible storm.
Now my thoughts have turned to things of a spiritual nature and
I ask myself: Am I am ready in respect to the Lord? Have I made
In Luke 22:33 Peter responds to Jesus' prediction of his impending
denial saying: "Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison
and to death." Although Peter did not, at this time, die for the
cause of Christ, he later says: "Yes, I think it is right, as long
as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that
shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed
me" (2 Pet. 1:13-14). Through tradition we understand that Peter
was eventually crucified. He asked to be crucified upside down since
he thought himself unworthy to die in the same manner as his Lord.
Likewise, Paul was ready to die for Christ. In Acts 21:13 Paul
answers those who were agonizing over the prophesy of his forthcoming
bondage saying: "What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart?
For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem
for the name of the Lord Jesus." Later he says: "For I am already
being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure
is at hand" (2 Tim. 4:6). Through tradition we understand that Paul
was eventually beheaded in Rome during the reign of Nero.
The word "ready" in our language is very common and means: to be
prepared mentally or physically for some experience or action (Webster).
It is worth noting that a component part of readiness is preparation.
Preparation and readiness are inseparable since without preparation
one cannot be ready.
Jesus demonstrates readiness and its relationship to preparation
in the parable of the ten virgins who were invited to a wedding.
Five of the virgins were wise and five were foolish. The wise virgins
took extra oil - they were prepared for the bridegroom even if he
was delayed. The bridegroom came while the foolish virgins were
buying oil and only the wise virgins were granted entrance into
the wedding. Regarding the wise virgins Jesus says: "those who were
ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut" (Matt.
25:10). And concerning the five foolish virgins, they were not granted
entrance into the wedding upon returning with oil.
Are you ready to die? This thought is not pleasant, but it is better
to take stock of life while we can make changes. Those who die unprepared
will knock on the door saying, "'Lord, Lord, open to us'" (Matt.
25:11)! But the Lord will respond: "'Assuredly, I say to you, I
do not know you'" (Matt. 25:12).
Does the Lord know you? If He does, you are prepared and ready
to die. If He doesn't, . . .