Many of us are forward thinkers. We’re planning our next vacation, deciding how to remodel the house, anticipating the next pay raise or promotion, evaluating the next big purchase, or simply looking forward to the weekend. Our minds are inclined to drift toward the future. But there’s a danger in being so concerned about “then” that we forget to enjoy “now.”
If there’s a benefit to having had major surgery, or recovering from being chronically ill, it’s that it helps us have greater appreciation for the moment we’re in. Each day’s a gift for every one of us – we’re not guaranteed tomorrow – but when one’s life has hung in the balance, it becomes easier to enjoy the beauty of the present.
The Bible speaks much about the future, especially the life that will follow this one, but it says a lot about today as well. The phrase, “this day,” appears several times to underscore our need to focus as much on the “now and now” as we do the “sweet by and by.” For instance, Jesus told His followers to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). He didn’t suggest dwelling on what we might need next week, or two months from now.
Later in the same passage He spoke about the pointlessness of fretting over the future, giving His hearers assurance that God would not fail to provide for them. Then Jesus added, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).
The psalmist wrote about the importance of embracing the present, stating, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). I try to remember that admonition every morning upon awakening, being thankful for another day of life and whatever opportunities God will send. There’s nothing wrong with gazing toward the horizon from time to time, but too much of that may cause us to miss out on what’s right in front of us.
I have several friends battling serious illnesses. For them, each day is truly a gift, a blessing. They don’t know how many more days they have left. Then there are those whose days have ended. My younger sister passed away just over a year ago, and I recently had a cousin not much older than me who also bid farewell to this life. Poignant reminders that each day, indeed, is precious.
But there’s one more element important for fully appreciating “this day.” As we’re living it out, we should consider who we’re living it for. Because that makes a world of difference in what we do, how we do it, and why.
It was Joshua, after leading the impulsive Israelites into the Promised Land, who issued them an immediate challenge. After recounting all God had done for the people of Israel, he told them to, “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
While rejoicing in knowing this is the day the Lord has made, it’s always a good idea to reaffirm whom we will choose to serve during it. Then we can do it again tomorrow – after it has morphed into “this day.”
Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at email@example.com.