At different times while I have been in my car, I have been able to listen to Chuck Swindoll’s Insight for Living broadcast. It has been so inspiring and thought provoking that I decided to listen to his podcast in my bluetooth device as I mopped floors yesterday morning. I had people coming over for dinner, and I had to teach school during the day, so I got up early to get my work done.
The first podcast I listened to was one that had aired on the Canadian version of his podcast called Setting the Table: Preparing to Dig into God’s Word, Part 1.
His theme for the podcast was, “Preparation is essential.”
He also said, “You must prepare well.”
He was speaking about how believers must study. Even if you never teach, you still must study the Word of God. We must be prepared to defend the faith and to share the faith with those we come in contact with on our daily journeys into this life.
We must grow as a believer in our faith, and the only way we can grow is to get into the Bible and to study — for ourselves — what it says.
He told a rather lengthy story of Demosthenes. He told how Demosthenes lost his father and how his guardians stole his inheritance and would not pay his tutors to teach him.
However, one day Demosthenes heard a great orator speaking in the square and how people paid the orator great attention. He decided that he would one day overcome and be able to defend himself as well as speak in such a way as to inspire people to action. But he knew he must first prepare.
He put pebbles in his mouth to practice speaking clearly. He practiced speaking full speeches with only a few breaths. He ran up steep hills speaking into the wind. He descended into a dugout he made to study on how to be a public speaker and how to defend himself with the law. He shaved half his head so he would be too embarrassed to go outside so that he would focus on his studies.
He took his old guardians to court eventually, and he won. He became a great orator. He found his true calling — he would be the voice of Athens.
Chuck Swindoll then goes on and quotes different well-known Christian authors and expositors and how they said preparation is key to believers.
The first person he quoted was C. S. Lewis who said, “If you give me 10 minutes to chop down a tree, I will spend my first two minutes sharpening my ax.”
Donald Grey Barnhouse said, “If I had only 3 years to serve the Lord, I would spend two of them studying and preparing.”
When Billy Graham was asked at the end of his life if he would have done anything differently, he said, “Yes, I would have studied more and spoken less at least three times more than I had done.”
The last quote he gave was a Chinese proverb, “Dig the well before you are thirsty.”
All of these quotes were given in context of studying the Word of God. However, you can apply it to any area of life. You must be prepared.
This year, I am studying and teaching American history. I have been amazed at how many of our founding fathers studied — a lot! They studied the books they had. They studied other countries’ laws and history. Many of the men loved to read and think — as children. Some of them were privileged and had tutors, but many just loved to study on their own.
I tell the kids I teach that if they want to succeed, they too should want to study and learn. We must learn to focus and think. Most people today don’t think or even know how to think like what those men thought a few hundred years ago. We have been spoiled by entertainment devices such as the TV and gaming devices and can’t focus for long periods of time.
But if we want to succeed and make a difference in our world, we must prepare. We must focus our minds on what is most important. I need to work on this as well — to be disciplined, to not waste my time, and to prepare myself to do my best in what God has called me to do.