Skip to main content

Then, When, & Now

Then, when, and now - three very insignificant words until you begin to think just how much they affect your lives. Stop for just a moment and consider the word "then".  Then can speak of the past - a point in time at which something happened other than what is happening right now.  Lots of us have a tendency to be limited by our "then".  When often refers to the future - a point in time where we imagine one thing or another actually coming to fulfillment.  Living in the "when" moments all the time can be a little daunting because we are always imagining something "better" than the way it is right now.  Now is the only really "good" way to focus our attention - if we do a good job with the "now", we won't have to worry about the "then" or "when" in life!

So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today. (Matthew 6:34 VOICE)

Jesus gave some very practical advice to his disciples - stop worrying about what is in the future.  I have heard it said worrying is "borrowing" from the future - bringing whatever the future holds into the present.  It clouds the present (now) with the stuff which belongs somewhere in the future.  If we do this long enough, we get overloaded with not only the issues of today (now), but those of the future (when).  I don't know about your life, but my "now" holds quite enough issues which must be worked through and completed without hauling all kinds of stuff from the "then" and "when" moments in life!


"The rest of the story", as Paul Harvey used to say, is what is so important for us to grasp: So do not consume yourselves with questions: What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?  Outsiders make themselves frantic over such questions; they don’t realize that your heavenly Father knows exactly what you need.  Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too.  (Matthew 6:31-33 VOICE)  Jesus pretty much hits the nail on the head, exposing what we all have a tendency to do from time to time - some of us way more frequently than others!  We are consumed by the worries of what will come next, how it will add to what has already happened, and how we will possibly be able to handle it all. To this he simply says, "Stop that!"

We can all take upon us the vantage point we choose - one of focusing on yesterday, tomorrow, or remaining steadfastly focused on today.  The vantage point from which we view life often makes the difference between "managing", as we call it, just barely making it through.  The difference isn't in how well we manage it all, but in who we are trusting to manage what is no longer in our control and what really hasn't come into our control yet.  The matter of control is at the center of it all.  Jesus reminds his disciples "control" belongs to him. We may think we have it all "under control" just because we are "managing", but truth be told, the control is really outside of our control!

The task of living for today is a large enough task, according to Jesus.  The "now" holds just enough challenges for today, so we do well keeping focus contained to "now".  I think Jesus was teaching us to trust - for trust is really based not so much in what has passed, although it is a foundation for trusting; nor is it based in what is to come, although we focus on the future with a sense of trust it will all come to pass as it should.  It is a fine balance between the three - "then" not holding us back, "when" not bogging us down, and "now" being securely placed in the heavenly Father's hands for the management of what today holds.  Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Your full attention, please

My mother frequently uses the term "Listen to me!" as a way of getting my attention so that I actually stop, pay close attention, and hear out whatever her idea or issue is at the moment. It isn't always at the most convenient moment, nor is it always easy for her to get out whatever it is she wants to share. Yet, it is important enough for her to ask to for me to hear it, so I respond with, "I'm listening, mom", and she begins.  It isn't said in anger or in a moment of disappointment. Rather, these words are usually spoken in a "sing-song" manner, but with very specific intent - they are intended to get me to REALLY listen to what she was saying. Why? Because she knows she has something to say even if it is getting harder for her to say it! She has walked through much already, learned many lessons, and has the advantage of experience on her side, but the disadvantage of advancing age makes it harder and harder for her to actually form those t…

Be a little salt

Ever wonder why Jesus left his disciples with the idea of being 'salt on this earth'? We don't fully appreciate salt these days because we aren't as accustomed to how it was used during the times Jesus spoke those words. We often have to put ourselves into the culture where the words are being recorded in order to fully comprehend the significance of their meaning. In the days of the disciples, salt was a basic "staple" of life. It was that which acted as "preservation" for everything. It also was the main seasoning of the dishes prepared - although there were other spices, salt was a 'staple'. Perhaps we would do well to look at some of the other functions of salt in order to see what Jesus may have meant when he referred to our lives a salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltin…

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…