But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy,
always being prepared to make a defense to anyone
who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;
yet do it with gentleness and respect.
– 1 Peter 3:15 (ESV)
I once had a pastor say, “spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.” As I watched a group of high school athletes sweating through a demanding summer workout, this quote came to life. A quick glance around the weight room produced no cheering fans, no marching bands, and no scoreboard. It was early in the morning and the place was rocking. Coaches were shouting instructions and players were encouraging teammates. With precision the players moved from station to station, grinding out one repetition after another. Bench press, push-ups, and curls, each being executed with perfect technique. The atmosphere was electric, yet outside the walls of that small room, no one knew what was taking place. What I saw was a team preparing for the upcoming season. I was witnessing a team being built!
In athletics, success is the by-product of preparation. The world seldom sees the endless hours of preparation that go into a victory on the PGA Tour or a Major League batting title. Success does not just happen; it’s always the result of hard work outside the spotlight. Preparation is also important as we strive to live out a life of faith. Life is hard! We are either coming out of a tough time, going through one or anticipating one around the next corner. Are we preparing ourselves to stand strong when the hard times come? Are we building our spiritual muscles when no one’s looking, so we can glorify God when they are? Are we studying and memorizing Scripture? Are we on our knees daily in prayer? Do we have a good accountability partner? It’s too late to prepare when the lights come on and the stadium is full. Success is something we all want, but few are willing to pay the price to achieve.
Lord, thank You for not making it easy. As we serve You today, I pray for the strength to prepare and the wisdom to leave the results to You. Amen.