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It’s Time to Step-Up!


When the star player in a football or basketball game goes down due to injury, it’s common to hear the announcer state “the team’s success is now dependant on player (X) stepping up”.  We hear that and understand what is meant.  The back-up player is now going to have to come into the game and perform at least well enough for the team to go ahead and pull out the victory.  It’s his time to “step up to the plate”.   

Having recently attended the funeral of a dear family friend and longtime faithful gospel preacher, Dan Shipley, I began to think about my father, other preachers, elders, etc… that I’ve held in high regard who have now gone on to their reward in heaven.  It’s humbling to think about the bible knowledge these men had.  But not only did they have bible knowledge, they exemplified wisdom in applying that knowledge everyday in their sermons, classes and conversations. 

I vividly remember a conversation with one of our current elders at the time we learned of my father’s illness. To summarize, he basically stated that it was now time for all of us to do a little more and work a little harder since we would no longer have someone around to lean upon for advice, knowledge, wisdom, etc….  In essence, we needed to step-up to the tasks at hand and do more than we had done in the past.

It’s sometimes easy to say we want to do more, but there are a few things that are necessary in order for us to be ready to do so.  First, we must have the desire.  It is vital we realize that there is nothing of greater importance in our lives than doing what the Lord wants us to do.  In Isaiah 6:8 when God asked who would go to speak to the people, Isaiah responds, “Here am I, send me!” 

Making a commitment like Isaiah did can be difficult.  Things will not always go the way we think they should and there will be those who attempt to thwart our efforts.  Despite whatever encumbrances we encounter, we must have the attitude Paul did in Phil 3:8 “… I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I might gain Christ”.  In Luke 14:26 Jesus put it this way, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple”.  Jesus is making the point that there is nothing more important than having the desire to be His disciple.  Everything else pales by comparison and in fact, there is no comparison.

In addition to have the desire to do more, we must be prepared for the challenges we will face.  While I might have the desire to go in as the backup quarterback to lead the game winning drive in the Super bowl, my 42 year old body is not prepared to be successful in that situation.  Similarly, how can we expect to be able to step in spiritually and teach others the gospel or provide wisdom for those dealing with difficulties when we are not spiritually fit?  Before we can be an asset in the Lord’s work, we must be prepared.  Preparation equals work!  We understand that in our physical bodies, yet many times think we can neglect our spiritual bodies and expect to gain the wisdom of the scriptures through the process of simply getting older.  Age without effort does not bring wisdom.  It simply makes oneself old!

Peter writes in I Peter 2:2 that we should “…long for the pure milk of the word…”  Not simply for knowledge sake, but that by it we might “…grow in respect to salvation”.  In Heb 5:12 the writer condemns his audience for their lack of maturity.  They were at a time in their lives in which they should have been able to feed on the meat of the word, but they were still in need of first principals.  In order for us to be spiritually prepared, we must progress from elementary principals to more difficult ones.  We must work at it and that requires our supreme effort. 

As we look around and see those who have demonstrated the desire to dedicate their lives to preparing for the next one, my hope is that it will encourage each of us to follow their example realizing that we must not only have the desire, but that we must be spiritually prepared to do so.  God has promised that if we do these things the day will come when each of us will be able to step up into our eternal home in heaven with Him and the others that have gone on before us.  What about you, are you willing to step up?


-Travis Everett