Are You Ready? - April 21, 2018
James Collins

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. James 4:14

Back in 1990, I was a young enlisted soldier in the U.S. Army. I had not been in the service very long when I received a phone call. The call was from my Executive Officer. He said, “Private Collins, we are going to war. You need to report to headquarters right away.” I began to panic. I knew when I joined that I might have to go to war. At the time, Operation Desert Shield was going on in Saudi Arabia. Units were being sent overseas to prepare for Operation Desert Storm. But I was not ready.

What would I do with my apartment? Could I get out of my lease? What would I do with my truck? Could I leave it unattended for a year? How are my bills going to get paid? Can I mail a check from the middle of the desert? What would I do about my college classes? Would they let me drop? What about that freshmen girl I had meet at the student union? Would she still want to go out with me when I returned? I had already purchased tickets to go see Rocky V. Would the movie theater give me my money back? I was not ready.

I grabbed all my gear and threw it in my truck and raced to the unit. I was so unorganized. Did I have everything? Where was my poncho? I can’t find my flashlight? Has anyone seen my duffle bag? Did I pack enough uniforms? Do they even have Mountain Dew in Saudi Arabia? There must be a better way to pay for college. Why didn’t I join the Air Force? I can’t go to war like this! I was not ready.

My state of panic only lasted for a couple of hours. That is when the Battalion Commander came in and told us that we were not going. It was just a mobilization exercise. I vowed that night, that I would be ready the next time. And I was. Years later, when the call came for me to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom, I was ready.

How about you? Are you ready? If you got the call today, would you be ready? I am not talking about going to war. I am talking about death. Are you ready for eternity? When it comes to being ready for eternity, we won’t get a mobilization exercise.

Last Tuesday, I preached the funeral of my friend John Rankin. John died way too young. I didn’t realize that John was so sick. I didn’t think that he was going to die. I had spoken with him just a few weeks ago. I was shocked when I got the news. Too many times in my life, I have lost friends and loved ones. Many were like John and they died way too young. But we never know when it will be our time. What if your time came today?

The Bible teaches that we should measure our days. John’s death is a reminder to me to cherish all the people in my life and never take them for granted. Take a walk with your spouse and hold hands. Play games with your kids. Call your parents. Go to church with your grandma. Go fishing with your grandpa. Spend time with your grandkids. Help your neighbor. Take some food over to a sick friend. Say, “I’m sorry.” Forgive. Make each day count. There may come a time when you wish you could. But it may be too late.

The point is: Life is like a vapor. It is like a puff of smoke. It is here for a little while. Then it is gone. If you were called into eternity today, would you be ready? Are your affairs in order? Do your friends and family know how much you love them? Is there someone you need to forgive? Have you made your final preparations? Are you prepared to meet Jesus face-to-face? Have you opened your heart to Him? I encourage you to get ready…

James Collins serves as the Pastor of Fort Scott’s First Southern Baptist Church. He is ready. Are you?

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