Yes, we’ve been social distancing for so long, this is Mark now.
I woke up this morning, headed down the hall and glanced outside from the upstairs window.  Not good.  A 45 foot white pine lay sprawled across my yard.  My concern was that the freeze would damage our flower gardens.  A 45 foot Pine was not on my radar.
I immediately thought of my 18” chain saw.  Not good.  I had used it a couple of weeks ago on a small branch.  It was very dull.  Definitely not ready for a 45 foot long, 15” diameter tree.  I wasn’t ready for a downed tree.  The goals I had for today, now included some unexpected yard work. So, “Hi, ho! Hi, ho! It’s off to the hardware I go” (with apologies to the 7 Dwarfs).  I had already scoped out places that might have my chain in stock, and was a bit concerned where to find it.  Mercifully, I found it at the local True Value.
I came home, and got out the saw.  It was dirty. I needed to clean it. It was low on bar chain oil.  I added it, but spilled some.   I did this in our family room (Marian was not around, which was good).  I wrestled the new chain on.  I adjusted the tension. Then, just to make sure, I visually checked things against the manual’s drawings.  I had put the chain on with the teeth facing backwards.  This would be like shooting an arrow with the arrow’s point on the string and the feather end toward the target.  Had to take it all apart and repeat all steps, having reversed the chain direction.  I finally had it ready.  Had to sweep the floor of dirty sawdust and grime (Marian still not around… God is clearly for me).  Put away papers, tools, etc.  From the time I started getting my chain saw ready (including research into places for a chain, visit to hardware, working on chainsaw), I have invested 2.5 hours of my life.  I went out and attacked the tree.  In 30 minutes, I had cut almost all of it up into log sized sections,  moved the branches into sections and the logs into piles.
So much of life is being ready.  I was not ready.  I could have been ready.  I knew I needed to get the chain sharpened or get a new chain.  I did not do the maintenance I needed in order… to…… be…..ready.  So, I shot my morning in a mad dash to catch up. A 30 minute job, took 3 hours.
So much of living the Christian life is being ready. A tremendous amount of Scripture talks about living ordered lives. Lives where we do maintenance on ourselves. Where we keep ourselves ready for what God purposes to bring our way.  Listen to these verses about being ready.
Titus 3:1 –  Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work.I Timothy 6:18 – They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to shareEphesians 6:13 – Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.I Peter 3:15 – But make sure that in your hearts you honor Christ as Lord. Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you about the hope you have.
Soul maintenance is what help us have an ordered internal life. It is what keeps us ready for conversations that God brings us into, for attacks of the Evil One, for needs calling for spontaneous generosity, and the normal interactions of life with others.  It is very, very easy to overlook soul maintenance.  The result is our soul is not ready.. it is not at rest, it is agitated, it is self absorbed.  We aren’t ready.
Maybe God has timed this little devotional for you. Maybe it is a just a reminder of the importance of investing in the maintenance of your soul, so you are ready.