Readiness is an act of faith because it presupposes we expect God is up to something. When we lose our focus, lose our vision and lose our energy to engage in what God puts before us it may just show we are tired but it can also point to a deeper issue…a faith issue.
I truly believe that God is at work in the world. He does all sorts of things some of which I have a clue about but much of which I do not. There are things God is going to do just because. There are other things that God does in partnership with us. In other words, there are some things that God does on a contingent basis based on some factor or another within us. Sometimes this is faith. Other times it is prayer.
I believe another aspect of this is our readiness. Like Samuel who asks God to speak because His servant is listening, when we demonstrate our readiness there are some circumstances where God is going to move where He would not have otherwise. I believe the parable of the talents teaches this in an oblique sort of way…that those servants who demonstrated their ability to act on what they had opens them up to receive more than they received the first time. Now, I am not saying this is about money just as I don’t believe the parable itself is about money. I believe it is about an attitude of the heart that expects God to acts and move and do things oftentimes in concert with us and so we get to work on things for the very reason that we believe we are working alongside God in these endeavors.. You will notice in that parable even the servant who didn’t do anything with it still did so under the understanding that the master had high expectations and so he froze and did nothing. The teaching right before that in Matthew 25 is the 10 virgins who demonstrated their readiness, which in turn is a readiness for God to act.
Last, there is a type of readiness that isn’t readiness at all. Like the virgins who didn’t bring enough oil for their lamps in Matthew 25 one fully expects the bridegroom to arrive and the wedding to take place but our readiness wasn’t “all the way” or at least in the right sort of way. The Pharisees serve as an example of this sort of readiness. They were known for their strictness in following the rules and trying to be pure in the sight of God fully believing that their purity would usher in the Messianic age and reign. In all of their getting ready they didn’t ready their hearts.
It is important for us as Christians and as a whole as congregations that we ready ourselves for what God has in store. We can do this through prayer. We can do this through obedience to the things God has already called us to do. We can even do this by being still and listening. Churches can no longer coast along on the coattails of a Christian nation that will constantly feed the membership through transfer growth. We must be intentional and all that means is we must be doing the things we should have always been doing!