Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit. Luke 12:35
It’s hard to be prepared for something when you don’t know exactly what you’re walking into. Such was the case for us this past week at Sky Ranch, where we took twelve high school youth (and three brave adults) to Colorado on a trip where some had never seen an actual mountain before (let alone the Rocky Mountains!).
Not everyone was fully prepared for what we would encounter there. I had to lend a pair of my hiking pants to one of the high schoolers before our big hike (which came in handy as we scrambled over fallen trees and rocks). Some of us weren’t quite prepared for how cold it got at nights. One youth told me, “You didn’t mention anything about tents” and followed it up with “I prefer sleeping in regulated temperature environments.” Don’t we all! I’ll admit that after meticulous packing, I completely forgot to pack a rain jacket (fortunately, camp had ponchos on loan!). We had a packing list, but we were still sometimes caught underprepared and had to lean on each other to fill in the gaps.
Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit! Jesus issues this call to action to his disciples, but I wonder, did they know what they were walking into when he said it?
With faith, we are always walking in unknown territory. God is constantly leading, pushing and challenging us to venture into new terrain and uncomfortable spaces. There is always an element of the unknown when following God. Sometimes the paths are flat and straight, and sometimes they get rocky and steep.
But in the same way that Sky Ranch sent a packing list to help us get prepared for what we would encounter, God has a packing list to get us ready for a life of faith. God tells us what we’ll need: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). When we pack those things with us, we can be prepared for whatever a life of faith might send our way.
The good news is that even in our own shortcomings, God gives us one another. Sometimes we need someone to loan us a pair of pants (metaphorically and/or literally). And if we’re caught without a rain jacket in the storm, we have someone to lend us a poncho. In the same way, we have to lean on each other in the life of faith. When we find ourselves out of patience, or not feeling the love we have others who can fill in those gaps for us.
There is no promise that the path will be easy, but hopefully with the right tools we can be dressed and ready for action, and in lieu of that, we have each other. Thanks be to God!