Troublesome Topic: Prepare Ahead

Prepare ahead So Rest Can Teach Discipline amid Temptation

It is incumbent on every man to be very, very zealous in making the Sabbath day preparations, to be prompt and diligent as a man who has heard that the queen is coming to lodge at his house. What would such a man do? He would rejoice greatly and exclaim: “What a great honor!”

We are tempted to do it all, to keep going and doing, and never rest; thus we are pulled away from enjoying quality time alone with God. We all wish we had more hours in the day. Why? So we could do more! Why? I’m not sure. What WE do will not be remembered anyway. 

One of God’s answers to the temptation to try and do it all is to place proper priority on Rest. What we value we will prepare for, hence the strong exhortations to prepare. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek the kingdom of God first, along with His righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.”

The day before the Sabbath was called “the preparation.” They were intended to be prepared for the Sabbath; in fact, they had to be prepared because they could do no work after the Sabbath began. We could say that for the Hebrew people the Sabbath started with its preparation, not with its arrival! I challenge you to think differently about Saturday evening.

There was a mother who always felt rushed and frazzled by the time she got her two children to Sunday School on Sunday mornings. But she kept noticing another lady in the congregation who had six children and yet she seemed so relaxed each Sunday, never frazzled. Finally, she asked the other lady what her secret was for getting six kids ready for Sunday School and yet looking so calm and serene. The mother of six gave her a very simple but profound answer, “we prepare on Saturday night.”

If we care about something we will make it a priority, if we make something a priority, we will plan ahead to be sure we are ready.

A time of corporate worship is only a small part of what a day committed to the Lord should involve. But think with me, how different would our times of corporate worship be if we came well prepared? What if we had enjoyed a healthy time in prayer and Bible reading before we showed up to celebrate with other believers? What if we purposefully got to bed early on Saturday night? Far too many American believers have a calloused attitude which says, “Tomorrow is Sunday, I can sleep in; I don’t have to go to bed early tonight.” How do you think that makes God feel? We go to bed early before other important days, why don’t we do so for the day we call God’s day? If it is true that we don’t have to get around as early on Sunday as on a work day or school day, why don’t we enjoy extra time connecting with God that day? And why is it that doing such a thing doesn’t even enter our minds?

Jesus was sent as a baby, not as a full-grown man. He became a man at 13, but was not fully accepted as a man of leadership until age 30. In a human sense, that gave Him 30 years to prepare, 17 of which were to learn how to lead. God values preparation! Do we?

You Don’t Have to Do it All!

We have been told “you can do anything (and everything) you want to do.” So we try to do it all. We want to exercise, and enjoy time with friends, and have a hobby, and grow a big garden, etc., etc. Then our children try to do everything they think they want to do, and we become enslaved to the sheer volume of “little things.” We begin to resent the free taxi service we run for our children. But we should not be upset with them for trying to do it all—they learned it from us! Our youngsters may take it to a whole new level because they have more energy than we do, but they learned it from us.

Many of us are enslaved to our whims. Such an enslavement to whims is indicative of a disequilibrium in our priorities! This entire scenario is a product of our selfishness!

Our society offers us everything except rest, except time for God. And we go right along with the culture, not realizing that it is unbiblical to try to do everything our society offers as an option. 

We ask: “Can I squeeze one more thing in without it killing me? If so, then sign me up.” The question should be: “Does this bring me closer to God? If it doesn’t bring me closer to God, it may indeed kill me—slowly.

The next lesson is Practical Ideas