British Prime Minister Winston Churchill warned men of his day to prepare themselves for opportunity and future calls to service with these words.
“For every man there comes that special moment when he is physically tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing - unique to him and fitted to his talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work which would be his finest hour.”When we study the Bible we find several examples of men eventually called to serve God in some great way who were ready for their moment only because of the preparation they had completed earlier in their lives. In many cases, they didn’t even know how they would eventually be used, yet prepared for their future opportunities by faithfully fulfilling their earlier roles and learning from their experiences. David became a great warrior, poet, and musician in large part due to his years laboring for his father as a lowly shepherd. Joseph, after being sold into slavery, also served faithfully in many jobs and learned from each one so that by the time God eventually placed him in charge of all Egypt, he was ready and able to save both Egypt as well as his own countrymen. Finally, when the resurrected Christ called Saul of Tarsus to become the apostle Paul and preach the Word to the entire known world, he was able to use all of his knowledge of the Scriptures, his teaching ability, understanding of culture and philosophy, his Roman citizenship, experience with seamanship and navigation, and even his tent making skill to carry out all the various assignments which God had prepared for him.
You may not know how God plans to use you in this life. Even if you think you do, God may radically change the course of your life at some point, as he did for Joseph, for Paul, and for me. Either way, there are certainly things you can be doing today to prepare yourself for whatever God calls you to do. The question is men, what are you doing?
If you’re just rolling through life, letting the gentle waves of your job or school, your social life, and mindless entertainment just carry you along, consider focusing your time and energy towards preparing for the challenges which may be ahead of you. Since God is in control of your life and your future, and already has a perfect plan for you, the specific tasks almost don’t matter. What’s important is that you’re preparing for something.
For starters, there’s no challenge or calling in life which won’t be easier to face with a better understanding of God’s Word. So are you studying your Bible? Are you memorizing Scripture so that you can wield the Sword of Truth when you need it? Are you attending a Bible teaching church as well as a small group or Bible study so that you’re constantly being fed and growing in your knowledge of God’s revelation to you?
What about developing a useful talent or skill? Don’t worry, as I said already, God already knows how he’s going to use you, so don’t get caught up too much in which talent to develop. Besides, the kingdom of God can use almost any legitimate skill you may develop. God needs musicians, doctors, carpenters, translators, teachers, bus drivers, leaders, computer specialists, authors, electricians, artists, painters, lawyers, audio technicians, mechanics, nurses, counselors, and probably a hundred other useful skills. If God has given you interests, abilities, and aptitudes be sure to develop them to the fullest potential so that God can use them when and where he needs them.
Finally, make sure you’re constantly strengthening your faith, character, and personal witness. These will be the most useful assets you’ll draw upon no matter what God calls you to do in your life. Life itself tends to build each of these over time and often through trials, but watch for opportunities to grow spiritually so that you’ll be ready for whatever calling God has for you.
As a Boy Scout I learned to Be Prepared. If that advice is good for young boys going camping in the woods, how much more so for Christians entering the spiritual wilderness of this world, called to witness to it’s lost souls and faithfully serve God to our greatest ability. Don’t let laziness, complacency, or apathy today leave you unprepared or unqualified for the work God will surely call you to do in your finest hour. Man Up and prepare today for God’s calling in your life.