Just recently a good friend of mine had a death in her family. Her mother-in-law passed and the family was hit pretty hard with this unexpected passing. My son and her son are best friends, so my son and I decided to go to her house to pick him up and let him hang with us for the day.
Shortly after we arrived, another one of my friend’s showed up with groceries for lunch. She said the family was coming over for lunch and we needed to get everything set up and clean up the house. I immediately started cleaning while my friend set up lunch. Before I go any further with my story, I need to clarify that this particular morning I did not shower. I did brush my teeth and wash my face…but I looked like I had just come from the gym….fully clothed in sports attire. After cleaning and setting up, I smelled like I had just come from the gym too!
My friend that came to set up had left and I waited for the family to show up so I could serve them. They all arrived, some I knew well while others I had not seen at all. Hugs of sympathy were given and hand shakes of comfort went out. I was introduced to the family members I didn’t know and I’m sure they thought I looked a hot mess! As the family was talking, I noticed that they needed ice, so my son and I made a trip to the store.
As my son and I were driving to the store, I told my son I should have put on deodorant. He laughed and said “yeah mom, that lady’s face was all in your armpit when you hugged her!” I had no idea I would be hugging so many necks that day. Then before I knew what was coming out of my mouth, I said “I guess we need to be ready in season and out of season.”
I pondered on that all day and when I finally had time to look up the entire verse it read….
2 Timothy 4:1-2 “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage —with great patience and careful instruction.”
We must be prepared in season and out of season for whatever God may have for us to do. I know this verse is talking about preaching God’s Word….but I don’t think preaching God’s Word always involves words. Sometimes preaching God’s Word involves no words at all…it involves living out God’s Word in the midst of life’s messy situations. It sometimes involves cleaning a friend’s house and standing around making sure everyone has a glass of water or tea to drink. It sometimes involves hugging the neck of a stranger who is hurting. It sometimes involves just being there sharing in the grief and loss of a loved one.
I think Francis of Assisi said it best when he said:
“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”
Here are a few practical ways to keep yourself ready in and out of season:
- Always stay in God’s Word. Read the Word daily, even if it’s just a verse or scripture a day. There are times when “dry seasons” come (when we don’t “feel” like God is speaking to us) Know that when you read God’s Word…it’s His WORD, and He is speaking to you.
- Always stay in prayer. Talk to God about everything in your life. Not only taking the time to talk, but take the time to listen for God’s voice.
- Always stay open. You never know when God will put you in the middle of someone’s life to minister to them through word or deed. It may be a simple hug or an encouraging word. It may involve sharing the Gospel or living the Gospel. It may mean sitting with them in the silence of their grief or laughing with them in their victory.
Always be ready…and always shower and put on deodorant…You never know who’s neck God will have you hug!