2 Corinthians 9:4 “Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.”
Preparation is the key to being ready to seize the great opportunities that lie ahead. Paul said that he had sent brethren ahead of his coming so that the people would not be unprepared for his coming. He understood that these people would be ashamed of their unpreparedness if they didn't prepare.
Nothing makes you look like you don't know what you are doing like unpreparedness. Preparation makes a person look brilliant. Preparation shows a desire for God to do the most through your life. Preparation is not a gift; it is a character trait of the successful. Is it not interesting that God prepared for many years for Jesus to come and die for the sins of mankind. Now, if God thought it was important to prepare for the first coming of His Son, I would think that you ought to see the importance of preparation. God believes in preparation so much that Jesus taught that He is preparing a place for you. My friend, by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail. You can either prepare to fail, or you can prepare ahead so you can succeed. The reason we prepare is so when the unexpected comes, we are prepared for the unexpected. So, what does it take to prepare?
First, you must look ahead. I would much rather live looking ahead at what is coming and be prepared than to live in the moment and not know how to deal with what life has brought my way. Preparation takes vision and the foresight to prepare for what you want to happen.
Second, you must have a plan of what to do. Looking ahead at what you want to do and not planning for it only makes your vision a mirage. If you want to make the most out of your vision for the future, you must devise plans of how you are going to accomplish it.
Third, you must think of all the needs that will arise when you prepare. It takes foresight to look at the details to accomplish something that has yet to happen; however, you are sure to be more prepared by planning for the details of what you do know than by waiting to care for the details once they happen.
Fourth, you must create deadlines. You need to set intermediate deadlines for your plans and a final deadline for when everything needs to be accomplished. Deadlines are the key to planning. You are just as unprepared without deadlines as if you never looked ahead. Humans perform best when they have deadlines. Setting intermediate deadlines helps to push you forward without being overwhelmed by a final deadline. If you don't have deadlines, you are sure to be unprepared.
Fifth, you must start immediately. Putting things off destroys the potential of any vision or plans. The best time to start a plan is immediately. The longer you put off your plans, the more stressful it becomes to do what you are trying to accomplish. Planning helps to take the stress out of what you are doing.
Sixth, prepare for the unexpected. The unexpected is going to happen, and the best way to plan for it is to care for the expected before it happens. When you care for the expected ahead, then the unexpected, which is sure to happen, is easier to handle.