"Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come." Mark 13:33
Flashback Friday to the 2016 Championship game. Alabama and Clemson are in a slug fest trading scores and coach Saban knew that it would take some trickery to gain the upper hand and win the game. So, in a game filled with future NFL stars, he instead called on his no name kicker to change the momentum by delivering an unexpected onside kick to give the Tide just one more possession. And it worked.
When interviewed post game, this guy talked about how the Alabama coaches will call on him randomly throughout practice to pull off this particular kick and how he was constantly reminded to be prepared cause he’ll never know when his number would be called. Because of this expectation, he would spend hours after practice practicing on his own, making sure that this kick was something he could produce at the tip of a hat. And on that fateful night, this kicker’s personal preparation resulted in him responding brilliantly when called upon. He was ready to execute even though he was given very little notice that he’d have to.
I too wanna be ready when called upon. To author the winning play that helps my team win. I hope to be so in tune and aware of my assignment that nothing would get in the way of a successful outcome. I don’t want to be scrambling to get things in order, babbling on just to delay action, anxious that my number is being called. I desire to be the sensible steward that Jesus talks to Peter about. To care for and protect what I have been entrusted with and given.
Being ready doesn’t mean I shoot aimlessly at a moving target though. It’s not a response for response’s sake or movement just to show action. Being ready means a well planned and thought out course of steps to ensure I don’t rush to respond, but pay close and careful attention in order to act accurately. How do I do that?
- Being READY doesn’t mean I live RECKLESSLY. Alertness and faithfulness to the calling doesn’t mean I forget everything else. I cannot be so focused on the readiness that all the other things get neglected. In fact, readiness is 100% determined by all the other little things. Being ready is good, but without an accurate approach and a humble heart I risk knowing the trick play better than the game winning plays.
- Know what I’m READYING myself for. What has God called me to specifically and how do I ensure that calling is not compromised? It’s easy to get caught up in the action and wanting to do it all, but being busy doesn’t mean I’m being productive. I need to focus on what I’m called to and trust that God will care for those who are called to do the rest. I need to invest in myself and the specific things that make my role unique and important to the kingdom.
- I need to ensure not only my readiness, but also the readiness of others. It seems every pat on the back I get for a wise decision or course of action finds it’s origin in the wise decision or course of action I gleaned from someone else. “If I have seen further than others it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. Someone who saw it fit to invest in me and take the time to ensure that my path was a little less rocky and my trail blazing goes just a little bit further down the path.
- What I admired most about Alabama’s kicker was that he not only executed effectively, but he did so at the most crucial point of the game. Yes, every play counts and every player is valuable, but the Kicker? The 5 foot nothing guy who barely has one bar across his helmet goes out and kills it? This guy went out on the biggest stage of sports, and if the legend is true, he didn’t even know he needed to execute until after the ref blew the whistle calling the play into action. Within seconds, all his practice and preparation came to a head, and the rest is history.
The game is on the line, things are as crazy as they’ve ever been and there’s no let up in sight, and I want to be ready to contribute to the team’s success when called upon, prepared to act when action is required, practiced up and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Jesus, thank You for the reminder, to be on guard, to be alert, to be ready. I look to these words with resounding hope and urgency and pray You guide and lead me as I surrender and obey. Thank you for turning my fear into faith, my pressure and pain into potential and purpose. Amen