I think Paul might have used these words as his motto. All through his life, whatever happened to him, he was always ready. If he had to speak to crowds in the street, he had the fitting word; if to the elite upon Mars’ hill, he was ready for the philosophers. If he talked to the Pharisees, he knew how to address them; when he was brought before the Sanhedrin and perceived the Pharisaic and Sadducean elements in it, he knew how to avail himself of their mutual jealousies to help his own escape.
See him before Felix, before Festus, before Agrippa—he is always ready. When he came to stand before Nero, God was with him and delivered him out of the mouth of the lion. If you find him on board a ship, he is ready to comfort men in the storm. When he gets on shore as a shipwrecked prisoner, he is ready to gather sticks to help to make the fires. At all points he is always ready to go wherever his Master sends him and to do whatever his Lord appoints him.
Ready to Work
“I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also” (Romans 1:15). He had preached the Gospel throughout a great part of Asia, he had crossed over into Europe, he had proclaimed the Word through Greece. But if ever an opportunity should occur for him to get to the capital of the world, whatever might be the danger to which he would be exposed, he was prepared to go.
He was ready to go anywhere for Jesus, anywhere to preach the Gospel, anywhere to win a soul, and anywhere to comfort the people of God. “I am ready.” There was no place to which Paul was not ready to go. Are we as ready as Paul was to go anywhere for Jesus, or do we feel that we could only work for Christ where we are today? Oh, may God keep us always on tiptoe ready to move, and equally ready to stay where we are.
Ready to Suffer
“I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13). To some of us it has become a habit to be ready to preach the Gospel. But here was a man who was ready to suffer for the name of the Lord Jesus—so ready that he could not be dissuaded from it.
Beloved friends, are we ready to be scoffed at, to be thought idiots, to be put down? Perhaps so. Are we ready, if we should be required to do so, to lose friends for Christ’s sake? We have not come to the height of readiness until we are ready for whatever the will of God may appoint for us. Unreadiness is a relic of rebellion, for when we are fully sanctified, when every thought is brought into subjection to the mind of God, then the cry is not, “As I will,” but “As Thou wilt.”
Ready to Die
“I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand” (2 Timothy 4:6). Paul was ready to die. Well might he be, for he could add, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
We who are active and have talents to use and health and strength with which to use those talents must go on with “the greatest fight in the world” until we can say, “I have fought a good fight.” We must go on running the Christian race until we can say, “I have finished my course.” We must go on guarding the Word of God and holding fast the truth of God until we can say, “I have kept the faith.”
To be ready, especially to be ready to die, removes all fear of death. If we are as ready as Paul was, all fear of death will be gone from us. And I think it takes away a thousand other problems if we are ready for service, ready for suffering, ready to die. Dear bother or sister, you would not be so ready to give up if you were ready for the Lord’s work and the Lord’s will.
And you who are ready to perish would get out of that sad kind of readiness if you came and trusted Christ and became ready to suffer or to do the Master’s will. The Lord is ready to pardon; may we be ready to believe! Come at once to Him, accept salvation through Jesus Christ, and then through the rest of your life be ready to follow Him.
—C. H. Spurgeon, condensed.