Why Being Available Trumps Being Prepared in the Kingdom of God

I’m a preparer. No, actually, I’m an over-preparer.

I’ve been that way for most of my life, but because I’m hard wired as a hard worker, I’ve been able accomodate my need to prepare.

As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve realized that when it comes to the things of the kingdom of God, there is something more important than being prepared, and that is being available.

By being available I mean being willing in the moment with no advanced warning to share the gospel, help, minster, or pray for someone. I rarely tell someone anymore, “Let me think about it and get back to you” because (1) I am far too busy and know I’m likely to forget; and (2) such help is best received by the individual when they make their need known to me. The best time to provide help is usually at the point someone is willing to ask for it.

Being available is more important than being prepared because we exist in a reality cabined by time. While God can and certainly has tampered with time in the past (e.g. Joshua 10:12-14), it certainly appears that His default is to work within the confines of time.

This means it is unlikely another person will present their need to you at a time most convenient for you. It is more likely that the moment when someone needs you to respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit is a time when you are engaged in something else.

One afternoon a few years ago, I was at the office. I was hurried because I needed to leave for the airport to catch a flight to Indiana to see my father who nearing the end of his life. Just before I was to leave for the airport, a recieved a phone call from an acquaintance. As he spoke about what was going on in his life, I knew the Lord was prompting me to share the gospel with him.

My initial reaction was, “I don’t have time,” and I didn’t. I needed to get to the airport, but the leading of the Holy Spirit was strong. So, I asked some pointed questions, shared the Gospel, and within about five minutes he had prayed to accept Jesus as His savior. It was about the easiest time I had ever led anyone to the Lord because it was the right time, and it was the right time because the Lord orchestrated it.

“Yes,” one might say, “I can see the importance of being available, but waht about I Peter 3:15?”

. . . but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

I Peter 3:15

Being prepared is important, but the verb tense in Peter’s admonition speaks to preparedness in the context of being available. We are to get prepared ahead of time so we can “always be ready,” i.e. be available.

I’ve now come to look for opportunities that may be inconvenient, recognizing that when I’m most inconvenienced I am likely to be most fruitful. GS

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