Earlier this week, my wife and I started watching The Natural, a baseball movie from 1984 starring Robert Redford. There is a scene when the over-aged rookie, Roy Hobbs (Redford), joins the New York Knights for the first time. Hobbs shows up in the dugout dressed in his street clothes with his new contract in hand looking for the team Manager. After a bit of discussion, the Manager tells Hobbs to find the equipment manager and to “suit up.”
Also earlier this week, I started coaching two of my kids’ Little Dribblers teams. My son was blessed by his grandparents to get some new basketball shoes for his birthday last month. And, due to all the country dirt/sand/mud we have around, he is not permitted until the end of the season to wear these shoes outside of the gym. I’ve got to make sure we arrive for practice in time to allow him to “suit up.”
For those who love the current Superhero movie genre, I can’t count how many times before the final battle that the heroes have to go and “suit up” before they save the world (again).
In my morning devotion time with the LORD today, I was reading in Luke 12. In this chapter, a large crowd has gathered around Jesus. He was teaching them to be careful about some things of this world. The religious leaders hypocritically cared more about being valued in the eyes of men than of God. He warned them to watch out for every form of greed. Jesus follows this up by telling them not to worry about the things necessary for life. Instead they should trust that God cares about us and will provide for our needs. We, in turn, need only to seek His kingdom. Telling us that life is about pursuing the things of Heaven, not the things of Earth.
He follows up these exhortations with two short parables to hit his point home.
Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. – Luke 12:35-38 [NIV – emphasis added]
The grind and repetitiveness of everyday life and routine can lull us into a spiritual coma of sorts. We lose focus on what life is all about. Titus 3:3-7 talks about our salvation in Christ, that we were saved by Christ and given the Holy Spirit “so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” [NAS, emphasis added].
We are saved because we believe in God, in more than just the things of this earth. We believe in Jesus Christ, God the Son who came in the flesh, lived a perfect life, died an atoning death IN OUR PLACE, was raised on the third day and is returning to the earth one day. But, if that day were today, would He find us here working to further the gospel? I have to confess that depending on the day, my Savior would find me simply trying to get through the current task so I can check it off my daily Tasks list on my Gmail.
In Luke 12, I get the sense that Jesus is imploring the people, including His disciples, to live life with the purpose of pleasing God. And to do this every day, all day.
He goes on.
But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” Luke 12:39-40 [NIV – emphasis added]
Christ isn’t threatening to break into anyone’s house. He is simply using this illustration to encourage those who follow Him to be ready.
Whether you are rookie baseball player just joining your team after being called up, a young boy getting to the gym for the start of basketball practice, or an Avenger about to battle aliens – you need to suit up! The baseball player can’t play in his street clothes, my son can’t play in his work boots that he wears to the gym, and Tony Stark needs his Iron Man suit. They have to intentionally prepare for action.
We need to get ready for what we are here to do. We need stay ready and alert throughout the day.
Luke 12:1 tells us there were THOUSANDS of people around Jesus, so many that they were stepping on one another. He didn’t retreat, He didn’t run away. He had compassion for the people. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners (1 Tim 1:15). He was always ready to do His Father’s will.
What about us? Do we suit up daily for work? Not for our jobs on this earth, but to serve the One who died so that we may live? Do we put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and peace (Col 3:12) Do we put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes that are ready to share the gospel, the helmet of salvation, and take up the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:14-17)?
My hope and prayer and encouragement for us all would be to want to be about the Lord’s work when He returns. And to put that desire into action. Let us be working to further the gospel in our homes, in our churches, in our communities. May we be intentional about encouraging one another in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us get up every day, suit up, and get to work!