July 27, 2013 in Features

Live in the day the Lord has made; it is a gift

Steve Massey
 
About this column

Three times a month, three community columnists weigh in on matters of faith and values. The Faith and Values column appears Saturday and features artist Donald Clegg of Spokane, retired Methodist minister Paul Graves of Sandpoint, and Steve Massey, a pastor from Hayden.

Do you struggle to live in the moment?

Me, too.

I often wonder how much of life is wasted by fretting about tomorrow, or rehashing the past, so that somehow the present cannot be enjoyed.

A recent conversation with a friend brought this to my attention. We met for lunch and talked for nearly an hour and a half. But as I left the restaurant, it occurred to me that I had robbed him of my full attention. As he talked, I mostly smiled and nodded, my mind already fixated on the next thing on the day’s agenda.

It’s a challenge to live in the moment.

A well-known psalm confronts us with the sobering thought that habitual inattentiveness to the present is not just rude, and a waste of time, but also an offense to God.

“This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it,” proclaims Psalm 118:24.

Since we are not promised tomorrow, we can be certain today is a gift from God. It’s another day of life, relationships, and unique experiences of God’s faithfulness and goodness.

Today cannot be relived; it will either be enjoyed, or wasted, moment by moment. Fussing about the future, or ruminating over the past, can become such preoccupations that we miss the blessing of what God has given us today.

For Christians, this truth about treasuring each day is anchored to God’s grace in saving us from sin. The “day” the psalmist refers to is not so much a 24-hour time period as the period of God extending grace to sinners, granting pardon from sin through faith in Jesus Christ. Each day the redeemed of God live gives cause for gladness for the love demonstrated in Christ’s death on the cross on our behalf.

“This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

It’s occurred to me that my struggle to live in the moment often is related to my trust in God. If I am trusting God with the future – even the near future reflected on my day-planner – then I can release my full attention to the present.

And there’s the rub. How much easier it is to talk about faith in God, or write about it, than to actually live it.

Jesus makes this connection between worry and weak faith with respect to financial fretting.

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. … Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26 – New King James Version).

God has promised to hold our future in his hands; he does so, in part, that we might enjoy him today.

Living in the moment does not preclude us from wise planning, or learning from past experiences. In all of life, balance is needed.

But a balanced life cannot be lived in the future, or the past – it’s either cherished or missed in the present.

Funny thing about that lunch date I mentioned. I have no memory of the urgent task that took my attention hostage that day. All I recall now is a missed opportunity to more fully enjoy a friendship.

I am trying to slow down a bit more, trust God a bit more, embrace today a bit more. You’re welcome to join me.

After all, this really is a day the Lord has made. Shouldn’t we rejoice, and be glad in it?

Steve Massey is pastor of Hayden Bible Church (www.haydenbible.org). He can be reached at (208) 772-2511 or steve@haydenbible.org.

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