Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. – Proverbs 24:27, 33-34
I am not much of a painter. In fact I would say it’s a task I despise and avoid. I just do not like it and I find I’m really not good at it. It’s not so much the application of paint, but the prep work and the clean up are my problems. I find it tedious, dirty and frustrating. This is especially true when I need to remove wall paper.
But as I have painfully discovered, the better my prep work is, they better (and easier) the actual application of paint occurs.
Here, King Solomon says we need to “prepare your work” and then “build your house.” In context, he is talking about getting a plot of land and preparing the ground before you start to do much else with your house. But most of us don’t think too much of land preparation or building a foundation. We love to look at the final project but just like painting, preparation and making a solid foundation, are keys to a successful building project.
Spiritually, I am afraid our modern church culture tends to produce many unprepared Christians. We tend to gravitate to all the fun things but neglect some foundational preparation steps. Someone in our church has a great life change moment and we are quick to give them a microphone and have them give their testimony when they really aren’t prepared.
For me, it’s the on-going small tasks in my spiritual walk that prepares me. Personal quiet time, serious study of His Word and prayer are the preparatory tasks I must do on a regular basis to make my time of worship life transforming. Translation; I get so much more out of church when I have myself prepared.
Even more importantly, I contribute much more to any worship gathering when I am prepared.
Notice how verses 33 and 34 say how when we neglect this effort, we end up in a state of poverty. I know the context is the physical activity of work, but I think there is an application to our spiritual life from this same theme. My prep work, my diligence in spiritual matters and disciplines does enable me to better experience Him. My worship of Him and my sensitivity to His voice is so much better when I have done my prep work.