Neil Vance, our youth director, shares some helpful reflections on living well not with a focus on yesterday or the future...but today.
Stop. Before you read this, take a moment and pause. As you do, be aware of the thoughts that come to your mind immediately as you take this quick break.
Done? Okay great, let’s continue. What came to mind? Thoughts about your plans for the day? (Hopefully not second guessing your decision to read this piece.) Or how about reflecting on a mistake you made yesterday that you can’t seem to let go? Maybe thinking about that vacation you are really looking forward to next month?
If either of the latter two are true, I can certainly relate. Not in the sense that I’m currently dwelling on a recent mistake or pining for an upcoming vacation, but all too often those are the types of things that dominate my thoughts.
As human beings we spend loads of time looking toward the future and often even more reliving or dwelling on the past. What’s missing in between there? Now, let’s be clear.
Planning for the future is not wrong. Neither is trying to learn from the past and our mistakes. To lead healthy lives as Christ followers it is necessary to be doing both of these things regularly!
However, when we spend too much time focusing on the past or future there is little time left to be mindful of the opportunities we have here and now.
I had a professor share something while I was a student at Bethel that stuck out to me so much that I have it written on one of the first pages of my Bible to this day. In talking about the most powerful ministry we can be a part of, he said to, “Bring yourself fully present, to the presence of God, in the presence of another.”
No matter where we find ourselves or what we are doing, this ought to be our mission. But this mission is very hard to fulfill if we are living in the past or future.
Jesus Himself modeled this presence in His own ministry, both by words and actions. He always had an awareness of the opportunities He was surrounded with, and challenged His followers to not be anxious about future worries, but rather focus on that day. In doing so we show our trust in God and acknowledge the value we have to Him (Matthew 6:25-34).
As I write this*, we as a church family find ourselves sandwiched between Join the Journey Sunday and the start of the fall campaign. I believe this timing to be significant for reflecting on how present I am here and now. I hope you will join me in this reflection!
As we enter into this year together, may we do so with a commitment to be more fully present with one another in Christian fellowship. And as we approach our fall campaign, Life on Mission, may we be more fully present to the opportunities God places in our lives to share His truths with others, and may we take advantage of them, TODAY.
We were created both for fellowship and evangelism, but when we live too much in the past or in the future we miss chances to do either in the present.
Take some time to pray about the opportunities God has gifted you with today. As we each go about our daily lives let us do so with an awareness that we are surrounded by chances to show the love of Christ to others, no matter how busy we feel. And may we never be so focused on the past or the future that we lose sight of that mission.