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Getting Ready

Therefore, encourage and build up each other, as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NRSV

Abraham Lincoln once said, "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." While we may not be hewing down any trees in the future, we appreciate the sentiment of being prepared. Even our most mundane chores, like a grocery store trip, include checking the fridge and cupboards for what is needed and compiling a list—the more serious the task, the more time we spend preparing.

Jesus made us the promise he is coming again. The time between our birth and our exit, either of his return or our natural demise, is time spent getting ready. We don't know the date of either of those events, so we must use the time we have well.

This preparedness is the message of Paul to the church in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, part of getting ready is helping others also to be prepared. Here's how Eugene Peterson, in The Message, interprets today's verse:

So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you'll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you're already doing this; just keep on doing it.

We do this as a church each time we meet by raising our joys and concerns. We share, listen, and pray for one another. But, of course, we don't wait to do this until we are gathered as needs arise. We are there for one another in every situation, through the glad, happy times and the disappointments, illness, and losses. In doing this, we help prepare each other and ourselves for the day we join Christ.

God, thank you for your Son who came offering us salvation. As sure as Jesus came and ascended, he is coming back. So please help us in this time of preparation to get ready, not leaving anyone out or leaving anyone behind, for the day we are joined with you. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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