Thursday, January 4, 2018
How Will You Live Today?
Boasting about Tomorrow
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.” Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.
The author was addressing the wealthy who could not be bothered with the things of God. They were consumed with their own lifestyle and the plans that they were making. At the same time there seemed to be a misconception regarding what was of “true value.”
Humanity continues to have free will, but our lives are to be graced by God. Participating in God’s work in this world is what we do today. The things of God have permanence but the things of this world will simply fade away. That’s why boasting about the temporal means nothing. Investing in the things of God today will have eternal impact. So, do the right thing.
I am a planner and a doer. I like to get things done and check them off of my list, but God is constantly calling us into not just doing, but taking time to “be.” That’s where the question about today comes in. What is it that I will do today that will be of eternal value? How will I live today?
It’s not wrong to have long-term plans and goals, but to allow them to dominate our lives to the exclusion of truly living today can lead us into sin. Becoming so driven that we fail to see what or who is around us is a problem. Every day we will encounter people who need our attention.
It’s far too easy to look over and take for granted the people we encounter in the every-day business of life. I’ve been praying about ways in which I can touch the lives of people I meet in ordinary ways for Christ. Two taxi drivers on Tuesday were Muslims, and I felt blessed to have lovely conversation with both of them. Yesterday I was seated next to a man who had broken English. We tried to communicate as we were on an 11 hour flight together. It was not until the 10th hour that I discovered he was from Germany. (We were on a French plane and I assumed he spoke French — which I do not) Why did it take that long to discover that we both spoke the same language? For the final hour we had a lovely conversation, but did I miss an opportunity?
Or what about the woman at passport control who has to deal with problems all day long? Did I reflect Jesus to her? Was I kind and patient? There are so many times that we can take out our frustrations on the people we meet if there are problems. But they are not the ones responsible for the problems, they are simply doing their job. We have the opportunity to “be” different with them. And that probably includes the woman I called at Delta airlines to fix a problem with a future ticket. With all the snow delays in America they were overwhelmed by cancellations. Is it the customer service agent’s fault that flights are cancelled because of snow? Absolutely not, but their lives are now overwhelmed by calls by out of sorts travelers. How will I “be” different?
The call for followers of Christ is to live in the moment. Don’t be uptight and frustrated about what may or may not happen in the future. Yes, have goals and plans, but never forget to live life today. Stop and listen to the voice of Jesus and then, be cognizant of ways in which you can reflect him. Life really is a mist, here today and gone tomorrow. Invest in permanence today, for people and relationships are the things that will go on. No, we won’t live forever, but if I invest in someone’s life today, they may invest in someone else tomorrow and the gift may go on for generations to come. I am a follower of Jesus Christ today because someone took the time to “be.”
How will you live today?
Lord, the slowed moments bring a depth of peace as I see your hand at work. Thank you. Amen.