Most people become at least a little anxious when asked to give a presentation to their peers, or to anyone who expects to be entertained or informed. If you have ever given a talk or done any type of “show and tell” presentation (PowerPoint, Keynote, recital, play, musical performance, etc.), then you understand the importance of good preparation.
Whether you are preaching a sermon, singing a solo, or just leading a discussion, I recommend you take sufficient time to prepare. When I was in college, I liked to “wing it,” but after looking pretty bad on a few occasions, I now tend to over-prepare when asked to lead a group or give any kind of presentation.
Once, after agreeing to preach as part of a youth-led revival team, I remembered a Bible verse about God giving us the words to speak when brought before judges to defend our faith (Luke 12:11-12). I made the mistake of over-generalized the intent of this verse and decided it applied to my current situation. So… I read and marked a few verses in my Bible, thought briefly about what I wanted to say, and then prayed God would give me the words to speak when I needed them on Sunday morning. Well, as you may have guessed, God did give me a few words to share, but after about five minutes I ran out of material and found myself with about 15 minutes of time and nothing left to say.
I think there is a wider application to this principle of preparation. Not only do we need to plan and rehearse before any major presentation, we also need to prepare for our future life beyond the few years we have on this planet.
I heard a story once about a jester and a king. The king was constantly making trips to far away countries and was known as a world traveler in a time when travel required lots of planning (not just purchasing an airline ticket and throwing a change of clothes in an bag). The jester’s job was to entertain and encourage the king whenever the king was at home in his castle. One day when the king was quite old, he became very ill, and it became clear that he was getting close to death. After cancelling all of his upcoming trips, the king called the jester into his chambers and asked him to juggle and tell some jokes. Instead, when the jester saw that the king’s condition was worsening, he asked the king if he was prepared for his great and final trip – a journey to meet his Maker. You can imagine how surprised the jester was to hear that the “wise” king had not prepared for this ultimate trip that we must all make at the end of life on Earth.
Are you prepared to meet your Maker? You have no doubt seen the homeless man standing on the street corner with the sign that reads: “Repent! The world is coming to an end! Prepare to meet your Maker!” Yes, this homeless guy may be a delusional prophet of doom, but his message is still worth considering. Have you made preparations for that trip to your final destination? Have you asked Jesus to be your guide when it is your time to travel from this life to the next? You don’t need to know the way or figure out what to bring, Christ said that He Is the way, and He is all you need. Jesus stands before you offering you his nail-scarred hand. When the time comes, if you have placed your trust in Him, He will lead you home.