Paul finishes his second letter to Timothy with one last challenge:
I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. – 2 Timothy 4:1-5
Recently, I have been spending time at the police station with Carrollton’s finest. A common phrase I hear come over their radio is, “Stand by.” In a tense situation, everybody is preparing for what comes next, anticipating further instruction, ready to respond with a quickness that delivers immediate results.
This is Paul’s intention: be ready to deliver immediate action.
When dispatch says to “stand by,” on the other end of the radio are officers who have collected thousands of hours of training and are prepared to respond to anything that may follow. They are prepared for any circumstance and ready to take action, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, with a quickness that many of us don’t realize, but are thankful for.
Paul says to be prepared, to stand by “for a time is coming…”
Church, we must be preparing ourselves today for what may come tonight, this month, this year, or next decade.
Are you preparing?
Are you standing by, ready to take action?
Paul’s writes to the church in Colossae, “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ” (Colossians 2:8). We prepare by studying the truth, the inspired word of God found in the Bible. We surround ourselves with others who value truth and will call out sin in our lives. We pray the Holy Spirit bring the truth to mind when given opportunities to act.
There is no doubt Father God has a “stand by” call out. Are we ready for what is next? I want the officer coming to my rescue to be prepared. How much more should we prepare when life eternal is on the line?
This Sunday we’ll be singing these songs together as we life our praises to God. This week, use these songs to help prepare your mind and spirit for what God has next.