Before anything else, preparation is the key to success. (Alexander Graham Bell.)
A beautiful wedding takes a lot of planning.
To get a good grade in an exam takes revision.
For a hard conversation to go well, it means thinking through the consequences.
You get the idea.
Preparation for all these tasks can be hard work, and sometimes not easy.
It took many discussions, some heated, with my parents on a location, the food, the date to suit family and friends, and who to invite and not to invite to our wedding. I tried to persuade them to agree with my point of view.
The exams for my Masters degree took hours of study, sometimes squeezed in late at the night when my children had gone to bed. Oh, how I wished I could get them over and done with, without the hard work.
It took being restrained in what to say, and what not to say, when I wanted a difficult conversation to go well.
And the work Jesus did on the cross to secure our freedom, took preparation and hard work, too.
Jesus knew the time for his death was approaching, and he needed to be willing.
He went to one of his favorite places, the Garden of Gethsemane, where he enjoyed spending time with his friends and praying. On this occasion, he did both.
A short distance from Peter and two of the other disciples, Jesus knelt and prayed to his Father. So stressed, he sweated drops like blood.
Jesus struggled to get in the right mindset.
He had to return to prayer three times to submit his attitude to his Father’s will.
Jesus’ surrender was not easy.
When Jesus was able to say “not my will, but your will” he was ready for the soldiers and the kiss from Judas. He was ready for the torture, the mocking, and the nails.
When Jesus’ own will had been crushed, he was ready to take our sin.
The Garden was an appropriate place for him to prepare because Gethsemane means “ a place for pressing.”
Trees, thought to be from the time of Jesus, stoop under the hot sun on the side of the Mount of Olives Their trunks are thick and gnarled. Perhaps Jesus prayed beneath these very trees just before his arrest.
Even after 2,000 years, these olive trees still bear fruit.
When I was there, the olives on the branches were beginning to change color from green to black. The recent rain had helped the fruit to ripen.
They were nearly ready to be picked and pressed for their precious oil.
It’s pressing of the fruit that makes a delicious olive oil.
Whatever pressing we have to go through to prepare for success, let’s follow Jesus’ example.
Jesus prepared on his knees. We should, too
When you know something difficult is ahead, do the hard work on your knees before you face it. Then you will succeed.
How are you preparing for success?