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Posted: September 20, 2012 9:19 p.m.

McCoy: Be Prepared

Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

Matthew 24:43-44
(New Living Translation)

"Be Prepared." For years, I was a leader in the Scouting program, and I remember many sayings that are still useful even now that I am no longer a Scout leader. The Boy Scout Motto was one of them. I cannot count how many times I have quoted this motto, or at least thought it, in my years of ministry. Unexpected things happen, and it's always best to "be prepared" for any situation that may arise.

For example, I carry an umbrella in my car because I want to be prepared in case of a sudden downpour, which we all know can happen here in Georgia. I carry mints in my purse just in case I need to run by the hospital or visit a sick church member on the spur of the moment.

I carry a note pad or phone with me just in case I need to jot down a phone number or write a sermon outline while I am detained in a doctor's office. I carry a directory in case I need a phone number or address while I am away from the office. I frequently quote my grandmother's saying, "It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it." This was her way of saying, "Be prepared."

The Bible tells us to "be prepared" as well. In the teachings of Jesus, he gives the example of the homeowner being prepared for the thief. If a homeowner knew exactly when the burglar would come, he would be waiting and would not allow his house to be broken into. Many things happen in life that catch us off guard. This week, I attended a funeral for someone who was ready to go, but whose time came too quickly for those of us left behind. As we celebrated the life of Rev. Dan Brokaw, I remembered this message of Jesus: "Be Prepared!" Dan was prepared to meet the Lord, much more prepared than we were for him to depart this life. Dan's entire life had been his ministry, and part of that ministry was caring for his friends and family.

He lived every day to the fullest and gave his heart unreservedly to the people of his church, his family, and his community. Dan served his church and his community faithfully and well, and the words "Well done, my child" fit him perfectly.

The end of life comes far too early for some, and we are left with unanswered questions and broken hearts. Death is a thief that comes too quickly and unannounced for us, so we are reminded to take the words of Jesus to "be prepared" seriously. I was recently reminded by a fellow writer to live life as if you had one year left to live. Get things in order because the thief will come...eventually to all of us.

What do you need to do to "be prepared?"

Rev. Jan McCoy is the associate pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church in downtown Covington. She may be reached at


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