Matthew 6:31-34 (NIV): So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
How much time do you spend worrying about the past or the future? Most of us would likely admit that we spend too much time agonizing over the past or worrying about the future. I struggle greatly at times, worrying about what has happened in the past or what is going to occur in the future. The point is – we will worry at times – but we cannot let that prevent us from living in the present moment. Why then is living in the present so important? I’m not suggesting that we should not learn from our past mistakes, but instead we must learn from them and grown into a better human being. I’m also not implying that we should not look to or plan for the future. That type of planning is something that we all must do. The problem occurs when we become too focused on the future that we stop living in the present moment. It is in the present that we encounter God, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, and the Holy Spirit. It is in the present that we encounter and minister to each other. I believe that it is in the present, ordinary moments of life that God speaks to us and reaches out to us, calling us to join The Almighty in ordinary and holy work.
I wonder how many ministry opportunities in my own life that I have overlooked because I failed to live in the present moment. I think about the lives that I could have touched and I also think about how many times I could have allowed other people to touch my own life and to minister to me. Often times, we allow the world that we live in to dictate to us our thoughts and our worries. The Gospels reveal to us that Jesus was out in the world, meeting people in their daily lives where their needs were the greatest. He showed compassion, mercy, and love to all that he encountered. He was not afraid to point out sin but he was quick to offer forgiveness and mercy to those who saw the need for repentance. It is when you “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33) that you begin to experience present moment living. You are better equipped to do more for others because of your awareness of what God, through the Son, Jesus Christ, has done for you.
I encourage you, in the days ahead, to try living in the present moment. If you are like me, it will take some effort on your part to do so but you will be blessed and encouraged when you do. I will end this devotional with these words from the Apostle Paul from Philippians 2:1-4: Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.