One of my favorite TV shows for the last year or so is “Alaska: The Last Frontier”. “Alaska: The Last Frontier” gives the viewer some of the breathtaking beauty of Alaska. Many of us don’t understand the fact her winters can be incredibly harsh. This show perfectly illustrates this reality, as the series profiles life for the Kilcher family in the isolated community of Homer. For four generations, the Kilchers have lived off what their 600-acre homestead has provided, but cultivating that living is never easy. Led by patriarch Atz Kilcher and his brother Otto, the family spends the short summer and fall gardening, hunting and fishing for food, gathering supplies from the land and preparing their animals for the winter.
As I traveled to Alaska when I was in High School, and it was SUMMER. I never understood how harsh her winters were. From watching this show, I now understand all of the preparation it takes to be ready when the first snowfall comes. The reason it is vital to be ready and prepared is that the first snowfall could be feet deep! That’s right, I said feet deep.
One of the grandsons of the founder of this homestead is Atz Lee. This guy absolutely cracks me up. His Grandfather moved here from Switzerland in 1936 and Atz Lee was born and raised on this homestead. You would think this guy knows when to start preparing for the upcoming winter……….but no, he continues to push the envelope every year and wait as long as he can to do everything from hunting for the meat or fishing for the salmon they need to eat throughout the winter. One episode was in the dead of winter and Atz Lee (married with two kids by the way!) was running low on meat and firewood for heating their house. He had to run outside in feet of snow to chop down some trees for firewood! All because did not prepare during the entire summer for this expected time of the year!
You know, I felt the same way 4 days ago as we got blasted with the coldest November 18th on record followed by 10 inches of snow on November 21st which closed the schools! Thankfully I did rake the leaves in my backyard. But, I did not clear out my gutters of the leaves yet and I hadn’t even tried to start my snowblower. On top of all this, my garage was filled with leaves, bikes, skateboards, and many other kids toys. I felt a lot like Atz Lee on Friday! There I was: It was 25 degrees, I was all bundled up while trying to start my snowblower. I then spent an hour taking it all apart but couldn’t figure it out. Did I immediately go to my neighbor who got his snowblower started and ask him to borrow his? That would have been the smart move. You know, clean off the driveway and spend time with the family. Nope! Instead I cleaned my garage and prolonged the necessary walk of shame to admit my failure AND lack of winter preparation!!!
I find there is a strong similarity between what I just described and my spiritual life. Paul reminds us and gives us a strong charge in 2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction.” Paul is speaking to Timothy here. Can you imagine if Timothy didn’t prepare to know the Word of God? Would the truth of Jesus been handed down to the next generation? What if Timothy knew the Word very well, but wasn’t ready to share it in situations that came to him? If we don’t prepare daily, will we be ready to share the truth with our friends, neighbors, co-workers, parents who we sit next to at the game, or anyone else we would run into? This would be a resounding no, we won’t be ready. I don’t want to be legalistic here or fear us into reading and studying the Word more. I simply want us to think about this. Are we really ready?
When I was in sales, I would call on 15-18 different physician offices every day. Most of those offices I was completely prepared to walk into. I would know how many patients they saw daily, what type of patients, what their favorite type of medication to order was, and many more boring stats. This information was vital as I had opportunities to earn their business and them to use my products to help their patients. But, I still vividly remember those offices I went into blind and not prepared. I would stumble over my words or even use the wrong Physician name……yes, I used the wrong name as I addressed the Dr! There were times I didn’t even want to walk into an office because I knew I wasn’t prepared. I can tell you this, I never earned anything in these offices.
How about my spiritual life? Am I prepared to tell my friends about the Jesus I follow? Do I really know Him? Are we prepared to serve God in any capacity that He may be calling us to? You may not feel God can use you somewhere, but be sensitive to God’s leading and prompting. We need to be prepared for any occasion to be used by God to share the truth of who He is. I can tell you as I have been learning more about God’s Word over the last 2 years, I have had many more opportunities to share in the Truths of Jesus Christ! And it feels good to be prepared and ready. Maybe next fall I will have the snowblower ready in October and the gutters cleaned out by November 15!
Spend time during this Thanksgiving to ask God how you can be better prepared. When you do, though, be ready to evaluate yourself. This is never easy, but it is tremendously fruitful!!!!!