Top athletes do an awful lot in preparation for their games or seasons, and these activities fall into several different categories. First, of course, is conditioning. Top athletes get their bodies ready for action through training, exercise, and all those hours of hard work that fans never see and sometimes never even know about. Beyond the physical preparation is the tactical or mental preparation. Additionally, it is important (where necessary) to have your equipment ready—the golfer’s clubs, the goalie’s gloves, the hitter’s bats, the linebacker’s pads. Then, of course, we see the superstitious or psychological preparation that ranges from getting your game face on, pregame routines that include a favorite tee shirt or pair of socks, or even doing every single tiny detail of the pregame routine exactly the same way every time in hopes of some good luck. The fact is that every athlete, regardless of their sport, has their own way of preparing for what happens when the opening whistle blows or the first pitch is made or the first tee shot is struck.
The need to be prepared for game time is not limited to athletes, nor is it limited to games. In life, there are moments of opportunity or danger that come upon us and allow no time to intentionally prepare. That is why, as followers of Christ, we are to be constantly about the business of being spiritually prepared for whatever life may throw at us.
The apostle Paul gave that same challenge to his beloved son in the faith, Timothy, when he wrote: “Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21).
The priority for the servant of God regarding preparation has to do with cleansing. In the context, Paul is warning about the things that can make us impure. We must be intentional and proactive about reflecting the cleansing of God’s forgiveness and living within the framework of that purity. To what end? In order to be:
- A vessel for honor—precious
- Sanctified—set apart for God’s use
- Useful for the Master—an instrument prepared for His use
- Prepared for every good work—There it is . . . prepared!
Being useful in terms of spiritual service is not a matter of luck, or somehow just happening to be in the right place at the right time. There is an element of preparation involved that makes us ready—ready to serve Christ, ready to love others, and ready to give honor to the Master.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain