"Mum, could you drive us to school tomorrow?"
The look on Kylie's face showed that this wasn't just an "I don't want to catch the bus" type of request.
With a sigh she continued, "I don't know why Miss let us bring all our art work home last month, if we just have to take it all back in for the exhibition on Tuesday night."
The thought of juggling her canvas work, sculpture, painting and precious Big Ben model back to school on the crowded bus was all too horrible to contemplate.
I didn't have to think twice. This was definitely one of those times when the bus was out of the question. The relief in my daughter's eyes when I said "yes" made me very thankful that I was able to do this for her.
To be honest, there was also the selfish little added bonus of gaining an extra thirty minutes in bed if they were going by car, and at that hour of the morning, every extra minute of beauty sleep counts!
Sure enough, the next morning I awoke five minutes before the alarm burst into life, and felt a lot brighter for my extra snoozing time. Even with the additional thirty minutes in bed, we still had more than enough time to get ready and everything seemed to flow smoothly from the moment my feet touched the bedroom floor.
Kylie had prepared and protected her art work ready for the trip and left these treasures, together with her school bag, in the Family room the night before. All she had to do in the morning was get out of bed, have a shower, eat breakfast and dry her hair.
After doing everything that was needed, she was delighted to discover that there was still plenty of time left over.
"Ooh goody! I'll be able to watch 'The Bear in the Big Blue House'!"
As my 16 year old daughter made a bee-line to the lounge room and turned on the television, I just shook my head in amusement. There was something about this pre-school programme that absolutely delighted her, and the opportunity to watch it before she left home for the day was a real treat. Once again I was reassured that her choice of future career as an Early Childhood Educator was very appropriate!
At the other end of the "getting ready in the morning" spectrum came Matthew. Where Kylie had been ready for her school day since the night before and had moved through all her morning tasks quickly and efficiently, Matt was totally unprepared and stumbled along in a sleepy fog.
He stayed in bed as long as he could, and then ambled into the shower where I lived in hope that the soap may actually come into contact with flesh.
Then, having dressed (up to a point) he decided that there was so much time left over that he too could afford to sit back and watch a little television out in the back room.
Peace reigned until it was five minutes before departure. It was then that Matt realized that he'd left his run a little too late.
"I haven't eaten my breakfast!" He wailed, while rushing to brush his teeth.
"Too late now. You should have eaten it before." I replied unsympathetically. "Now come on or you'll make us late."
As Kylie and I headed to the garage, another wail came from Matt's bedroom.
"I didn't pack my bag!"
Kylie and my responses were almost stereophonic. "OH MATTHEW!"
Somehow he managed to throw together everything that was needed for his classes that day in record time, because before long a frazzled, shoeless 14 year old boy jumped into the front seat of the car.
Backing out of the driveway, I couldn't resist making a point. "Now do you see why I tell you to pack your bag the night before? You've got to make sure you're completely ready before you go off and amuse yourself."
Considering Matt was struggling to get socks and shoes on his feet, while battling the restrictions imposed by a seat belt, moving car and no leg room, I'm not sure that my pearl of wisdom actually registered. But perhaps these regular occurrences will eventually cause him to change his ways. The fruit of being unprepared has long been abundant in my son's life!
"Be Prepared" wasn't just a catchy motto that Lord Baden Powell made up for the Boy Scout movement. In fact, it's actually wisdom taken straight from the Bible. Jesus Himself stressed the vital importance of being ready, alert and always prepared. He made it very clear that to not do so was to leave ourselves open to consequences that would impact our eternity.
As He warned His disciples:
Being ready for our Saviour's return is simply to be living as though expecting His arrival at any moment. It isn't about keeping a lot of rules and regulations, but rather to be living naturally and freely for Him every single day. It means living in a close and loving relationship with Him. A relationship built on faith, hope and trust.
When we're prepared, whether in a physical or spiritual sense, there's a peace and calmness that accompanies our readiness. We know that everything's been done that can be done and we're ready for whatever is ahead. Not just ready, but quite possibly full of eager anticipation. How different that is when compared to those times when we're not prepared!
To live unprepared is to live in a state of chaos, disharmony, anxiety, fear and stress. The consequences of not being ready can be very serious. To be prepared for an exam could be the difference between coming top of the class and failing miserably. To be prepared for an emergency could be the difference between life and death.
Being prepared spiritually carries that same consequence - life and death. It does call for action and requires some effort. It also requires vigilance and attention, when sometimes we'd really prefer to just sit back and tune out. But the benefits go way beyond any fleeting pleasures found in idle hours of self interest.
Jesus is coming again, although no man knows the day or the hour. Our responsibility is to make sure that we're ready and waiting, with our "bags" packed the night before!
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