I recall hearing a cute story about a first-grade teacher who asked the class to name two days of the week that began with the letter “T.” One energetic boy immediately shot up his hand, and when called upon, said “Today and Tomorrow.”
True, but not exactly what the teacher had in mind.
I would like to add a third, but it doesn’t begin with “T” but “Y.”
So we have three to think a bit about:
God wants us to live in the present—today. Today is a gift from God. That’s why it’s called “The Present.” We’ve all heard the expression “living in the moment.” But there is a problem to be recognized and dealt with. The Past (yesterday) and the future (tomorrow) can rob us of the ability and energy to live in the moment—today!
As leaders, we have made mistakes in the past. None of us is perfect. We have regrets and say, if only I had not done such and such or if I had only done such and such, my leadership, my life would look very different. We have an enemy that wants us to think too much about our mistakes and not enough about His mercy. We can either use the past as a hitching post or as a guide post. We can learn from the past, but it’s not a good idea to live in the past. There is a line in a Christian song (“Before the Throne of God Above”) that reads, “When Satan tempts me to despair and tells me of the guilt within, upward I see him there who made an end of all my sin.” O, how I thank the Lord that there is forgiveness and forgetting the sins that have been owned, confessed and repented of. The past may describe me, but it should not define me. I can waste a lot of time and energy regretting, lamenting things about my past and some of the unfortunate things I did or didn’t do. Dwelling too much on the past can be a thief of my joy and usefulness in the present. In Philippians 3:13 Paul encourages us to forget what lies behind. Learn from it, but don’t linger there and allow the enemy to rub your nose in it!
Many of us know Matthew 6:33 about seeking God and His kingdom first, but verse 34 (not as well known) has a lot to say as well. “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” The Message.
We can regret the past and we can worry about the future. My wife Susan and I have a verse from the old Living Bible that we have returned to over and over in our 52 years of marriage, “He does not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what may happen. For he is settled in his mind that Jehovah will take care of him.” Psalm 112:7. I cannot begin to tell you how often this verse has delivered us from the “What If” time-waster. What if this happens, what if that happens? You know the drill.
Fearing the future robs us of the energy to live in the present.
My fellow leader, would you join me in believing God for the grace to live in the present—in the moment, and not with the regrets of yesterday or the fears about tomorrow. He is bigger than our past or our future!