Updated: Mar 1
The date was somewhere in 1998. As we stood there saying our goodbyes, we all thought we would be back again in just a few months to see each other. However, this time was different. I didn’t know in my teenage mind, but this would be the last time I would see most of the men, and their son’s who we camped with. As the following October rolled around I noticed my Dad wasn’t getting the gear ready. “We aren’t going to make this trip” is what he told me.
Fast forward 20 years my family and I are getting ready to go on our first camping trip. Now, I used to go camping at least twice a year for 15 years straight, for me this was going to be a walk in the park. However, I found myself questioning everything. How much ice would we need, is this cooler going to work, what should we bring for dinner, what if we run out of supplies? All these questions plus a dozen more kept me awake at night.
How then, could someone with so much experience not know exactly what was happening? How could I be sitting here second guessing every decision I was making? Well most of us have heard the phrase, “If you don’t use it, you lose it”. It is one of the truest sayings out there. I hadn’t used this information in years. Since it wasn’t in the forefront of my mind, my mind went we don’t need to hold this any longer. It literally left it all out. I lost it. I got comfortable in my life of AC, TV, and fast food. I lost my edge.
Most of us have the same approach when it comes to our faith. We show up a time or two to a worship service, or small group. But then, when the time comes for us to need our faith we realize it isn’t as close as we thought it was. We start second guessing everything we know, the information must have left us. We didn’t use it, and now we have lost it. This is why it is absolutely imperative that we are diligent in gathering with one another, this is why when we miss, it isn’t just the body that hurts, but us too.
Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:2-4, "preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
We need to be ready, because the time is coming, surely it is here that people will not endure sound teaching. People will not be able to apply the message of the gospel, that we are dead in our trespass and sin, But God, being rich in mercy with a great love for which He loved us makes us alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2).
If we are not using it, we will lose it. The conversation will come up and we will choke. The neighbor, or friend, or family member will go looking for answers, and we will leave them longing. We must remember “we play like we practice”. It is not too late, and you can still turn this thing around.
Be ready in season, or out!