Yesterday I met Nita at a store in Shreveport and she was shopping her little legs off. When I got there the shopping basket was full to the top and stuff hanging over the sides… and there were still things on the list. Most of the Christmas presents have already been purchased. Only one or two are lacking. So, it was my duty as “the man” to inspect the shopping cart and wonder what all that stuff was for. So, I did. It was stuff we were going to need two weeks from now. Every year we have the family Christmas dinner at our house and she was making ready. There will be a lot of folks there and not one of them will leave hungry. Tired maybe, but not hungry.
Looking around in the store, it looked as though a whole lot of people were doing the same thing. Shopping carts lined the isles and many were so full it looked like it was time to check out or get another buggy. I think I spent more time watching people than I did shopping. People are amazing and often capture my full attention. Some of them will almost run over you if they see you going for something they have on their list as if you are going to get the last one. It is comical. And whatever you do, be careful in the parking lots, especially this time of year. They are dangerous places. Stores everywhere are loaded with customers. People are making ready for the big day. So much to do and so many things to get make people scurry like ants on an ant hill.
After a while it all started running together. All of the faces seemed the same and I started to see something different. I’m weird and I know it. I see things of God in everything it seems. But, after I finished analyzing their purchases and the flight to make ready for Christmas, I wondered to myself, “Will people ever make ready for God with this kind of passion?” What about that? We know Christmas is a deadline. It is one day of the year and if you do not get it done by that day, the calendar is very unforgiving. You miss that day and you will have a lot of hungry or disappointed people on your hands. Some people will be with their families a day or two early or a day or two later, but whatever the target day, you must be prepared.
God has given us instruction to be ready, to make ready. He has called us to understand that one day, in His time, He will call for us on that great and final day and we are to be fully prepared to meet Him. There will be no second chance. There will not be an early or a later day. We must make ready. Christmas is easy because it is defined on a calendar. But, the great and final day is not marked on our calendar. It is marked on His. He knows the time and He knows the day and there is nothing you and I can decipher or decode that is going to give us that day. It is our responsibility to make ready and stay ready. It should be our passion. Our baskets need to be full and overflowing in anticipation of that great day. There needs to be preparation ahead of time for there will be no warning and no one will be counting down the days. Make ready and stay ready.
God is gracious to us all. He has made provision for our sin. He has given us freedom from the guilt of our sin and threw in the mix everything we need for life and godliness. He has been faithful to His promises and there is no reason under heaven to consider that He will not continue to do so. There is no need for last minute things. There is no need for “death bed” repentance. God has provided for our weaknesses with His strengths and we are promised under His own oath that He will fulfill His part of the bargain. In Him, we are secure. In Him we are no longer on our own but owned by Him. He is our rock and our redeemer. Getting into Him is our “making ready” and the work He does in us and through us is what we are here to patiently endure and enjoy.
Whatever calendar day God decided is the final day will be fine. If we make ready now, there will be no long lines of preparation or hurrying back and forth. We will spend our lives in quiet, responsive servitude to Him, Who is the creator and sustainer of all things. We will live our lives in service to Him and when that day comes He will welcome us home. We will be ready. So, if you are not ready, get ready and stay ready. God is awaiting us.