It’s funny how God tends to drop little nuggets of wisdom on you from unexpected places. I was reading a book for a project on a very specific subject (baptism in church history) when the author’s phrase hit me like a ton of bricks:
“The degree of fulfillment in something is directly related to the degree of preparation that went into it.”
His context was that preparation for baptismal rites used to last one to two years, and that the level of the preparation served to increase the impact, both personally and corporately, of the sacred act of baptism. But when I read that I realized that it has implications for almost every area of life.
Have you ever tried to run a marathon? Or have you ever tried to run…at all? Your enjoyment of running a race will be directly related to how much you have prepared for it. No preparation and you will likely be miserable. Preparation and you will feel like you know how to fly. Preparation makes all the difference.
Or how about this example. Have you ever gone on vacation…and failed to prepare? Whether you didn’t have enough money, didn’t know where to go, or didn’t know that the ski slopes aren’t open in August, your enjoyment of leisure has everything to do with your preparation for it. This even counts for your day off. How you prepare can make it or break it.
This concept seemed counterintuitive to me because I naturally think of rest (doing nothing) and preparation (work) as being opposed to one another. But these two are inseparably related, one doesn’t work without the other. Preparation is what allows important things (like rest or exercise) to actually do what they are supposed to do, to make the most impact. Spontaneous enjoyment is the exception not the rule, despite what the popular culture wants us to believe. Intentionality and preparation lead the mature to their greatest delights.
This rule applies to worship as well. Your level of fulfillment in worship, whether it’s a corporate gathering or private worship, will be determined by how you have prepared your heart for engagement with God. It would be difficult for me to overstate how important worship is in daily life. And it makes the weekend gathering exponentially better.
So don’t be discouraged if the things in your life aren’t working, and don’t just wait for them to get better. Put your best foot forward to get the most out of today no matter what you’re doing. Don’t be a victim of what comes your way, rather take control to get what you want from every endeavor. You have that power! Today is all we have!