Running an errand yesterday, I hustled through the grocery store, right past an employee carefully putting out the displays for, you guessed it, Valentine’s Day!
OK, I was in a hurry. I was in a rush to get back to work, which was piled up since I had taken a week during Christmas to go visit my family. So, my point is that I wasn’t exactly taking the time to stop and smell the roses, as they say (and pardon the pun), which probably means I have no right to complain, but since that hasn’t stopped me before…..
Come on! Those were the words that went through my head, followed quickly by, you’ve got to be kidding me? In other words, can’t I just have January to take a breather from the next thing I’m supposed to be prepared for?
And my next thought after that little tirade was that, in reality, all I ever really have is the moment I am currently in, and yet I spend so much time worrying about or preparing for something that is going to happen or may happen tomorrow or the day after that, I fail to soak in all the blessings and glory, sights and scents, all the nuances of the now that are what make a day worth living.
The Bible is very clear on this moment-by-moment approach to living:
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself,Jesus said. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
The Preacher writes, “This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20). The Message puts these same verses this way:
After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live.
Be sure you don’t mistake living in the now for a “live and let live” philosophy. “Be very careful, then, how you live,” Ephesians tells us, “not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity. . .” (5:15-16). And those opportunities are not to embrace the treasures of the earth but the treasures in heaven: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person,” Colossians 4 admonishes. And Christ made clear that loving God first and treating your neighbor as you yourself would want to be treated sums up the whole of all God’s commands.
When it comes right down to it, the past has already come and gone, with only the ability to repent of what wrong was done in it and move forward earnestly trying to do better. Tomorrow only comes by the grace of the One who made us all. But today, TODAY, is the gift of the moment that we have the opportunity to make the most of with all surety.
So, sorry Valentine’s Day, but I’m going to keep myself busy with today this January. As the Psalmist proclaimed:
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24 ESV)