I recently observed scores of hot air balloons preparing to launch all at once; I was struck by how much effort and sweat was expended to lift these beauties to the sky. To climb beyond the status quo always involves effort whether it be travel, sports, business, or ministry.
Can I ask you which is more important in your ministry for the Lord, the preparation or the performance? Recently Mike Krzyzewski, the long-tenured basketball coach for Duke University, was asked when he would know it was time to retire. He responded that retirement would be obvious when he lost the passion to prepare!
Why is the worship, fellowship, and public declaration of the Word often so shallow on the platform and in the pew? I believe the answer is found long before bright lights begin their glow. There are many in ministry that miss the direct correlation between the last-minute, nocturnal cramming of Saturday night and ministry that rarely leaves terra firma. How can this be? Yes, we are lowly, but we serve a high and holy God who seeks to invade every crevice of our hearts, homes, and church.
Would you join with me in pleading with the Spirit of God to stoke the embers of our hearts for a passion not just to perform but to prepare? Proverbs 21:5 declares, “The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.” May those in our families and churches not suffer lowly want but lofty wonder as they climb upon the heights of our sacred and disciplined preparation!
- Pastors, give yourselves to prayer and Bible study! (Acts 6:4)
- Worship Leaders, give yourself to developing the skills and cohesiveness of your musicians. (I Ch. 25:1-4)
- Congregation, plan your week around the scheduled meeting of your church, go to bed early on Saturday evening, pray with your family prior, etc. (Ps. 84)
Ludwig van Beethoven summarizes, “Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.” What could the Spirit of the living God do with His people if they discovered the secret power found only in a heightened commitment to prepare to meet with Him? I personally don’t want just my last-minute hot air; I intensely desire the life-lifting breath of God to come with power.