"Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching." 2 Timothy 4:2
Be ready in season and out. I once had an experience that really drove this home for me. I was in a closed Muslim country on Kingdom business, and I was privileged to be able to attend a meeting of a group of pastors and home church leaders that was held at the beach. It was a wonderful time of ministry and fellowship, and afterwards several of us went swimming in the Caspian Sea.
While we were swimming, there was a group of young men near us tossing a ball around in the water. The ball got away from one of them and began to drift out to sea. A current was rapidly taking the ball further out to sea. Apparently the young men weren't the greatest swimmers, and were unwilling to swim out farther than they could stand.
Being a fairly good swimmer, I swam out to retrieve the ball. The boys were grateful when I returned with the prize. My clumsy attempts at conversation in their language made it clear to them that I was a foreigner. When they found out that I was an American, they were quite curious to find out what I was doing in their country.
Well, if that's not an opportunity, I don't know what is. I said a quick prayer and asked the Holy Spirit for help. Before I even realized it, I was telling these young men that I was once like that ball, adrift at sea, and that like that ball, I too needed to be rescued. Right then and there, standing chest deep in the Caspian Sea, out of breath from my long swim, I shared the Gospel with a group of young Muslim men.
They listened intently, and then thanked me and politely excused themselves. I may never know what, if any, fruit came from that encounter. The fruit is not our responsibility, though; it is God's. Our responsibility is to be prepared, in season and out; to abide in Him and to trust in the Spirit, and to trust that He will water the seeds that we have planted.
Are you prepared? Readiness is a quality that our King desires of us. Spending time in the Word and in prayer are the primary things that help us to be prepared for what we will encounter throughout our walk. Education, evangelism strategies and techniques, books, cultural competencies in your missions field...these are all wonderful and useful tools that we should take advantage of, but nothing takes the place of spending time with the Lord Himself.
Pray. Read your Bible. You will be ready, in season and out! Contact us if we can be of any assistance.