Be ready in season and out of season.

This exhortation to the young preacher Timothy was a reminder to always be ready to share good news. It was the reason one of my preaching professors, the Rev. Dr. Teresa Fry-Brown, wanted us to learn “hermeneutics on the feet.”

Be ready. Remember, pastor, you never know when you’ll be called on to share a word of good news or when the message you have prepared is no longer the word that needs to be preached that day.

Be ready, pastor.

The same holds true when, as I’m doing now, you do most of your preaching with a guitar in your hands. Be ready, musician, because you are more than just a performer.

A friend recently shared this quote from Karl Paulnack, Director of the Music Division and member of the piano faculty at Boston University. It is directed to those majoring in music.

If we were a medical school, and you were here as a med student practicing appendectomies, you’d take your work very seriously because you would imagine that some night at 2 AM someone is going to waltz into your emergency room, and you’re going to have to save their life. Well, my friends, someday at 8 PM someone is going to walk into your concert hall and bring you a mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, a soul that is weary. Whether they go out whole again will depend partly on how well you do your craft.

This sums up why I do what I do. This is what makes the hours of practice worth it all. This is the reason to give every performance all you’ve got.

Be ready, musician. Some night, we may have just the good news somebody needs to hear. We may have the source of joy that overshadows sorrow. We may have the balm that heals a sick and wounded soul. Don’t hold any of it back. Whether they go out whole again will depend partly on how well we do our craft.

Be ready, musician.