Readiness and Preparedness
Acts 1:23-26
And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.…

The Church, like a line of soldiers in action, must have no vacant places; each gap in the line must be made good. The unfilled post is a point of weakness in the system and the work, and the enemy against whom we strive is not slow to take advantage. The weak place is soon detected, and the gap in the line will soon be still further enlarged. A rent unmended rapidly grows greater. The apostles felt this. So at once they proceed to fill the vacant place. Two thoughts meet us here. If a place has to be filled, two requirements must be satisfied. First, we must have one prepared, one fit to fill the position; secondly, we must have one ready and willing to take up the work. Matthias was a disciple of experience. He was not a recent convert, no novice. Hitherto, we may conclude, he had filled no official position. But by attendance on the Lord's ministry he had been preparing himself to take up the work when a call should come. He was probably quite unconscious as to when or how it would come; but as a Christian, as a soldier of Christ, as a servant of his Master, he was always liable. The summons, "I have need of thee," might come at any moment. Would the summons find him fitted to obey it? He had "companied" — come along together — "with them." He had listened to Christ's teaching, watched Christ live and work; he could speak from experience. Is there not here a lesson for all? We do not know when Christ may need us; we do not know exactly how He may wish that we should be employed. But the summons may come. When it comes, in what state will it find us? Shall we know from experience anything of what a Christian life really is? A knowledge of Christian truth and Christian life is indispensable for Church workers. They must be prepared. And as a modern writer has said, "preparation is not preparedness," but it is the secret of it, the means whereby it is obtained. Preparation, constant, ever going on, is the way to be prepared. But the worker, besides being prepared, must be also ready, that is, willing to obey the call when it comes. How often has a clergyman to lament the sorrowful fact that those who might be of the greatest service are sometimes the least willing to take up work. Yet to whom "much is given, of him shall be much required." According to our means, abilities, opportunities, shall we be judged. Notice the example of Matthias and Joseph. There is not a word Of hesitation or excuse. They knew not upon which the lot might fall, but either was willing and ready; it was sufficient that the call had come, they must not dream of disobedience. They did not know what might lie before them-danger, toil, persecution, in all probability a martyr's death. But there is no shrinking, no attempt to excuse themselves or find reasons why they should not take office. It has been of the nature of a national boast that Englishmen sought rather than shunned the point of danger, the life of active service and toil. How often have we read of the soldier chafing under the circumstances which cast his lot in the reserve rather than in the midst of the action which was progressing at the front! Should there not be a like spirit exhibited by the soldiers of the Cross? The life of action and the life of danger is surely in some measure the life of honour.

(W. E. Chadwick, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

WEB: They put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

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