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MICHELLE M. LAW-GORDON: Preparation is key!
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MICHELLE M. LAW-GORDON: Preparation is key!

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It’s been more than two years since I’ve mentioned this subject, but it is so important that I think it’s worth discussing again.

I posed a question – “Are you prepared?” – as a result of the numerous deaths that were occurring all around me in both my personal and professional life. Both young and elderly people were seemingly passing away at an alarming rate. People were dying expectedly and unexpectedly; after long-term and short-term illnesses; as a result of suicide and senseless acts of violence – people were dying.

At the time, I myself had experienced losses in both my immediate and extended families, some of whom were prepared, while others were not. Although it’s been more than 32 months since I wrote that column, I would venture to say not much has changed.

Although my initial column focused on being prepared for death, this time I’d like to broaden the scope a bit. After thinking about this a little more deeply, I realized that in anything that matters, preparation is key. When I accepted my call to preach, one of the first things I was reminded of is that, “A call to preach is a call to preparation.”

Before preaching my first sermon, I completed a semester-long internship with my pastor, three years of seminary and an additional two years of waiting, all in preparation of embracing and walking in my call. I believe this privilege we are given called life is a call to prepare for both life and death.

If you’re like me, as a youth, you were asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The reason for this question was to help you to begin preparing academically in order to achieve your goals. You see, if you prepare properly, it could be the difference between stopping at a high school diploma or earning a college degree. It could be the difference between working in corporate America, serving in the armed forces, getting a job in a fast-food restaurant or not working at all. It could be the difference between needing a student loan to pay for college or receiving a scholarship.

If you’re hoping to purchase a new house or a new car, you’ll have to prepare your credit, unless you have an abundance of cash. You see, preparation could be the difference in you needing a co-signer or being able to purchase on your own. It could be the difference in you needing a down payment or receiving a loan with no money down. It could be the difference between a zero-percent interest rate or a rate so high that by the time the loan is paid off, you will have paid three or four times the principal. Preparation could be the difference between using a credible bank versus a predatory lender.

So, you have to prepare for all of these things.

In addition, you have to prepare for rainy days, the loss of a spouse, a sick child, loss of a job or a major car or home repair. There is no guarantee that you won’t be diagnosed with an illness that could take you out of work for an extended amount of time or lead to unsurmountable medical bills.

In this instance, preparation by way of medical insurance and supplemental policies will be key. This will provide resources to cover labs, X-rays, prescriptions and other needed supplies. You could also find yourself out of work for an extended period that would reduce your income. Unless you have access to money you have set aside in a savings account, a 401K or a sizeable credit line at a bank, you’ll be unprepared when the rain starts to fall.

Preparation is key.

But not only is preparation key in life, preparation is key in death. As I stated at the onset, I experienced quite a bit of loss in my own life prior to writing the column that was published in February 2019, and I have lost additional family members and friends since that time. Needless to say, every loss wasn’t the same. In some instances, proper preparation had not been made and this lack of preparation brought about some challenges and became burdensome for others. The lack of preparation meant family members and friends were scrounging to get the money to bury loved ones. I witnessed family members struggling to bury a young mother who left small children behind. I experienced having to figure out how to bury adult loved ones who didn’t take responsibility of insuring themselves. I’ve witnessed families creating Go-fund-me pages in an effort to raise the needed cash to cover burial expenses. I’ve seen people lose everything they had after the death of a mother, spouse or significant other, and in every instance, this loss was due to a lack of preparation.

It is time for us to be a more responsible people. We must prepare for both life and death. We can make the most out of life by preparing for death. People will often say, ‘I’m living my best life,” but if dying tomorrow means someone else will find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place because you did not handle your business, then you are not living your best life at all but are instead living as a train wreck waiting to happen that could cause your loved ones to lose everything they have. In the good book that I refer to as my blueprint for living, we are taught that “death will come “like a thief in the night.” and that you must, therefore, be in a constant state of readiness. That same book teaches that there was a man who both lived and died, and he did that so that we could not only have life but have life more abundantly. In order to do this, we must be prepared.

While this good book that I refer to does not seem to directly address this idea of insurance, the implication is there. Proverbs 13:22a states, “A good [man] leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. …” 1 Timothy 5:8 notes, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

I admonish you to prepare not only to live a good life but to also finish well.

Preparation is indeed key to life AND death!

Michelle M. Law-Gordon is the pastor of Open Door Baptist Church and a lifelong member of New Ebenezer Baptist Church in Florence. She is a member of the Morning News’ Faith & Values Advisory Board. Contact her and other board members at fvboard@florencenews.

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