I confess my impatience, and my reluctance to prepare. I never liked hockey practice unless it was an intersquad game. When I run these days, which is almost every day of the week, I rarely do the recommended stretching exercises beforehand. I know it is dangerous but I just want to get going! When I was on stage in community theatre I disliked rehearsals. Seriously, I would rather go straight to opening night and ad lib through the whole thing. After all, we all knew the main jist of the storyline and who our characters were supposed to be.
What goes on in advance is sometimes more important that what goes on during the event. It is the same with mission and ministry. Read this passage from the Old Testament and notice the four things that precede Isaiah jumping into the work God has called him to do.
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
What is necessary before mission takes place?
• Vision of God’s holiness & majesty (verses 1-4)
• Awareness of inadequacy due to personal & corporate sin (verse 5)
• Experience & understanding of forgiveness (verse 6,7)
• Hearing the call of God & saying ‘yes’ (verse 8 )
Get these things looked after before the hard work begins and perhaps there will be less struggle ahead. Less pain, less sense of inadequacy, greater confidence, sustained focus: these things come when there has been the proper preparation.
So go ahead and ask me if I will change the way I do my running and training.