I am writing from my home office today. We have been socked in with the worst snow I can remember in recent past. Our lives have been on pause for almost a week waiting for the weather to break and the snow to melt. I was reminded of a sense of general panic prior to the storm. The stores were packed, most of the shelves were bare and items like snow melt, shovels and generators were sold out. It was clear that many were hastily making last minute preparations for the storm. I feel sorry for those that were not prepared or waited too long. The events of this past week are not only a reminder to be prepared, but to be spiritually prepared.
We are usually pretty prepared for stuff like this. Caryl and my regular habits, like shopping each week, replacing items as they run out and staying current on regular maintenance put us in a good place for the unexpected storm. There was one item that I missed. We were low on ice melt. I hit a couple stores on the way to the office several days before the storm to discover that there was none available. They were sold out. The one gal I spoke to mentioned that she started keeping track of the requests and had already received 10 calls by this point in the morning.
I was reminded of a very significant reality. It is usually too late to prepare when the storm arrives! This is especially true for the follower of Jesus Christ. It is impossible to make up for a lack of spiritual preparation when that life crisis comes crashing into your life. Jesus used a parable to communicate the importance of being prepared spiritually for the challenges that blow into our lives. “Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like:” (Luke 6:47) Jesus is going to use the parable of a house built on a rock and one built on the sand to make this point. The application is to be spiritually prepared. Lives that are prepared will face the storms that come, and they will come. “he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.” (Luke 6:48)
A well-built spiritual life is the result of doing many small things. We see here that wise man’s house took work. He had to expend energy and time to lay a solid foundation. He had to make sacrifices in the short term that would pay off in the long term. The contrast on the other hand is the man who took the easy way. We read, “But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”” (Luke 6:49)
The preparation of the wise man would involve what we call “Spiritual Disciplines.” Spiritual Disciplines are spiritual habits that lay a solid spiritual foundation in your life. These include the obvious like a regular devotion time which should include Bible reading and prayer. It would also include the less obvious like regular church attendance, serving in a ministry, sharing Jesus with others and even giving. That is what Jesus means when he calls us to be people that, “hears my words and does them.”
I guess the question is “Are you spiritually prepared for the coming life storm?”
-Pastor Joe Parkinson