The apostle Paul had several younger pastors that he was mentoring. In II Timothy 2:21, Paul told his protégé that if he wanted to be useful for the Master, he needed to be prepared for every good work. Paul was emphasizing the need for preparation.
It got me to thinking about the kind of preparation it takes for various careers. Since I have been watching some flying videos recently, I wondered about becoming a military pilot. So, I looked it up.
Did you know that you must have a bachelor’s degree to fly for our military? You can’t be any shorter than 5”4’’ and no taller than 6’5’’. There are vision requirements and a physical fitness test to be taken.
And speaking of tests, there are many. There is the Fighter Aircrew Conditioning Test and the seven Aviation Selection exams. A national security clearance is required before you start the Advanced Flight Training, followed by yet another background check. After all of that, maybe you can sit in a Navy jet and hum a few bars of the Top Gun theme.
The more important the job, the more strenuous the preparation. Being useful for the Master requires a boat load of serious spiritual prep. We need to be vessels set aside for honor. We must be set apart (sanctified) for the Lord and His work. We need to develop skills (personal, spiritual and life oriented) that are submitted for His purposes. And we need to be ready to go to go to work.
Yes, there should be some training in righteousness. We need to realize that the Lord doesn’t use perfect people, He uses people who quickly acknowledge their sin, ask for forgiveness and change their habits.
We just finished Christmas vacation, so it might be easy for us to consider Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was a young girl, probably not yet 14 years of age. How prepared was she for her assignment? Well, she committed herself to holiness. She was focused and surrendered. She declared, “Let it be to me according to your word.”
It might be a great time for us to carve out some quiet time and find a meditative place so we can check our own spiritual readiness. Are we committed to a lifestyle that reflects the Fruit of the Spirit? Do we quickly seek forgiveness when we fail? Is Christ the center of our lives, our bank accounts, our careers, our family, our calendar?
It’s time to get prepared… for the Master’s use!