13 Buttons

It was a typical morning process of getting ready for the events of the day. The only things different were a couple of interruptions to the routine, trying to help a couple of folks with some minor crises. After taking care of those things, I pressed on to get ready and get on my way. I glanced at the clock and realized I was running behind and wondered why I was late. I was buttoning my shirt at the time and began to process in my mind how much time I spent just getting ready to go. It hit me that we spend a lot of time preparing, just getting ready to get into the day. It certainly is time consuming.

By the time I dry my hair (well, scratch that one), tie my shoes, button my shirt, tie my tie, etc., until time has rushed by. That morning, I slowed the process slightly by counting the number of buttons I had on my shirt. I had to button 13 buttons on my shirt. Thirteen! I couldn’t believe it, so I counted them again. Yep, 13. My soul and body, what a process I go through. I thought about an old fella who used to run a store in our community. One day he was answering some inquiring minds who wanted to know why he never tied his shoes. “Why?” he said, and then very thoughtfully and philosophically explained he didn’t tie them because at the end of the day all he did was untie them. He had a point. Maybe not a good point, but he had a point.

The same kind of thought was going through my mind as I broadened my understanding of how much time all of us spend in life on preparation. Preparation consumes a bunch of time. It may involve preparation of a meal or preparation for work or preparation for surgery or preparation for a big test. We all are involved in preparation of some type and it usually takes some time. Preparation is important and time consuming because it affects so much of our future.

In Scripture we find that God directs all of us to prepare but over and over, we are reminded of people who were here either to prepare us for eternity or to prepare us to listen to God. John the Baptist was the way-preparer for Jesus. He announced the Lord was coming. Jesus said to us that He goes to prepare a place for us and then He will come and receive us unto Himself. Amos tells us in the great prophet’s book that we are to prepare to meet God. Preparation is important.

It may be that this very day is a day that you need to take time to prepare for something very important that is just ahead of you. Maybe you need to get your mind and your heart shaped in a spiritual configuration and directed by the will and word of God as you have a meeting with someone with whom you have had a disagreement or a broken relationship and you need to thoughtfully prepare how Jesus would guide you and how He would have you act and react. Maybe you’ve been thinking about your relationship with God and what Jesus did for you when He died on the cross to save you from your sins and you have failed to make eternal preparations, but today you can take that action. You can turn from your sins to the Savior and make Him the Lord of your life. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

How many times have you had opportunity to prepare but you passed it by, and God has given you another opportunity to get ready and be prepare? It may be that over the last days or weeks, God has used numerous experiences in your life to keep focusing you on the fact that you need to be prepared. You passed by those opportunities but here right before your eyes God is giving you another chance, another opportunity, and you can be prepared. It’s amazing how much time we spend in preparation and it’s even more amazing how little time we spend in preparation for the life beyond this life. We ignore it, push it aside, do not capture the moment to bring our heart and surrender it to the God who made us and loved us and made provisions that our sins could be forgiven. You can call on the name of the Lord today and He will save you. Don’t miss this opportunity.

Here’s an incredible thought. It takes less time for you and me to turn to the Lord, ask Him to forgive us of our sins, cleanse us, and give us life everlasting than it takes to button my shirt in the morning. Today, you can do business with God. You can be prepared for eternity. You can trust Jesus today. Be prepared.

The author can be contacted at directions@mbcb.org.

Jim Futral

Executive Director-Treasurer