“Living for ‘The Now’ Needs to be Directed”
Pastor Barry Klein, Staples Church of Christ
It just struck me “now” upon beginning to write this devotion that in the 1960s and 1970s, the phrase “The Now Generation” was hip to describe some of the cataclysmic shifts and changes that were unfolding at that time.
(If you ever want to read very engaging analyses of the realities and implications of the 1960s and 1970s upon our society thereafter, read “The Death of Innocence” (1981) by Dr. Sam Janus, Ph.D., “The Culture of Narcissism” (1979) by Christopher Lasch and “ME: The Narcissistic American” by Stern.)
Actually, the wisest person ever to walk this earth had some profound and life-giving things to say about the “now” of any day that we are in. As we live in His Presence, living in “the now” of day is quite life transforming. It does call more for “being” in Him than “doing.”
The first of our two Scriptures comes from Jesus’ own words in Matthew 6:34. After giving example after example of how richly the Heavenly Father takes care of us, Jesus says, “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
We need to be clear at this point, that nothing in Scripture discourages wise and timely planning. Even Jesus spoke to “counting the cost” and used illustrations of carpentry and military to make His point (Luke 14:28-33).
But Jesus is telling us that frantic worry, resulting from disconnecting from Him, is not how He made us. (After all, He is “Immanuel,” God with us.) But, I’m guessing we all have been caught up in debilitating frantic “what if” scenarios, most of which never come to pass any way, if we are honest with ourselves. Living in Jesus’ love, care and provision (spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically) is a far better and life-giving way to live.
Lets take in our second Scripture in James 4:13-17 when possibly Jesus’ half brother (reflecting on Jesus’ Matthew 6 words?) observes, “Not listen, you who say ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”
So, what have we learned? Any point of time is a gift from God (the moment, hour, day, week, month, year, or lifetime). As His gift, we are to be good stewards (caretakers) of what belongs to Him, being conscious of life’s brevity. Even today as I write, a colleague of mine who is also a police chaplain in Minneapolis, shared with me that a 27-year-old police officer just recently was out running and died in the run.
When people ask me about discovering God’s will for their life, from study and experience, I have found that likely up to 95 percent of God’s will is already laid out in the Bible as to how (and why) we live this day, this moment, this “now,” for God. Together, let’s not waste what is His.