Original post at http://trinityumchurch.blogspot.com/2012/11/getting-ready.html
"Without A Vision, The People Perish" (Proverbs 29:18)
Sometimes everything on the Calendar just falls right where you want it to. This Thursday is, of course, Thanksgiving and Saturday is, of course, the Ohio State/Michigan game. Which means by Sunday morning I'll just be coming out of a cholesterol/football coma. My eyes will be bleary and I'll have gained a few pounds. And thoroughly enjoyed every part of it.
Few things rival the week before "The Game" at least in Central Ohio. I assume it's the same thing in Ann Arbor. The game will be analyzed by every angle. Every sportscaster will get in on the act. Stores will be selling "game" food and clothing so you can show your loyalty. The streets will become virtually deserted Saturday when the game starts. The bad jokes will begin.
This is not intended to be one of those, "I wish you got as excited about the Church, or Jesus, as you do the game". or "I wish you took your faith as serious as you do the game" messages. I've never thought guilt was the strongest motivator to get someone excited about Jesus. It seems to me that the more we walk with Jesus, He does a pretty good job of motivating us Himself.
Nor do I think we are necessarily being bad Christians because we are excited about the game and want to have a good time. Laughter and fellowship are usually pretty good things. So watch the game, eat a few nachos, it's not going to wreck your faith.
Actually I think "The Game" has something to teach us in the church. While we begin to get hyped up this week, the team has been preparing all year long for this moment. Through grueling Spring and Summer workouts, to watching tape of game after game the teams have been getting ready. The coaches even more so. Countess hours of watching tape, looking at strategy getting every one ready comes down to that moment.
It's an incredible amount of work. Why do they do it? Because if you aren't prepared you can't win. One needs a goal and needs to intentionally prepare. All the pep rally's and well wishes mean nothing if you haven't prepared yourself for the actual game.
That's what the author of the Proverbs at the top of the page meant when he wrote, Without a vision, the people perish". God's people are to have a visions and they are to get ready they are to prepare to accomplish the task God has given them to do. All to often we act as if our spiritual victories are to come from well wishes and hopes. The truth of the matter is that if we do not prepare we cannot reach to gaol of God's vision for us.
How are we to prepare? How are we to live with some intentionality? The Founder of the Methodist Movement, John Wesley believed that we best prepare ourselves by attending to certain things in life. He called the early Methodists to regular worship. Daily Prayer and Scripture reading, Regular attendance at the Lord's Supper. Meetings with others who would hold one accountable for their faith. The sue of the gifts and graces to be in mission in the world as much as possible.
History tells us when the Methodists prepared, God agave them a vision and they changed the world. I wonder what might happen to us, if we would prepare in the same way? Would God give us a vision? Would we see that vision come to fruition? Would we change the world. I think we would. God has a vision for you. How will you get ready?
Rev. Dr. Brian Jones