Until I was 15 years old, I was involved in the Scouting movement. I was a proud member of 5th Belleville. We enjoyed many years of learning, camping and serving those around us. One thing I will never forget about Scouting was the motto BE PREPARED. It is still the same motto in Scouting today.
As we start the year, it is not bad to think about the motto, "Be Prepared", again. It helps us understand what priorities we should possess, what actions we should take and what we should devote our energy to. I think of my Buffalo Bills this weekend. I am sure they are thinking seriously about how they can “Be Prepared” for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. I am afraid they have their hands full, but their devotion to the game plan will be key.
How can we be prepared for daily and church life, as Christians, in 2021? I think it is important to have a game plan. Here is one that I think will work for you and me:
BE ATTENTIVE – Listen, listen, and listen. Be an “active listener” (James 1:19, Amplified). If we don’t understand, really understand, where people are coming from, then we don’t know how to respond in a caring and helping way. It will be impossible to put the pieces together as we try and build relationships. We need to listen first, intently to God’s word, and then to one another.
BE PATIENT – I know this sounds a little Mickey Mouse but patience is required in every area of life. Without it, we often get ahead of God and blow it. I know I do! “Love is patient…” 1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV) and, therefore, we must exercise patience as a discipline my friends.
BE PRAYERFUL – As we grow through prayer, we grow in the Christian life. Prayer is much more than intersession; it is a vital living dialogue as we listen to God through His voice, through His word and through the unfolding of His divine providence in our lives. Prayer is a life-long dialogue with our creator in which we seek His wisdom and His grace. It is a continual journey of growth in discovery and discernment. To me, it is both one of the most rewarding and challenging areas of my life.
BE GRACIOUS – I know, at times, it is hard to be gracious. That doesn’t mean we have to agree with others all the time or model their behaviour, but, in the midst of all we do, we need to try and keep a gracious spirit. I use the word gracious instead of love, for if we are being gracious we are being loving. Again, I use the words of John R.W. Stott, “Grace is love that cares and stoops and rescues.” It is truly amazing!
God bless you as we journey through 2021. May His grace sustain us, may His love empower us and may His wisdom lead the way.
In His love – Pastor Ralph