Prior to taking a trip, my wife will often ask the rest of the family, “what are you looking forward to most about the trip?” Responses have varied, depending on the ages of the kids at the time (seeing Mickey, riding this ride, seeing this place, eating this food, etc…), but a recent response made me stop and think. “I’m just looking forward to the experiences” was the response my son gave. Wow, what a great answer! It made me think to myself, “Do I sometimes focus so much on getting to a certain place, that I’m missing out on some great experiences along the way?” I think we all must admit, that there have been times we have missed out on some great things, because we were so focused on getting somewhere else at that moment.
The beginning of the new year can be a good time to reflect and also make plans to move forward. While this is a good thing to do and good time to do it, we must be careful about the manner in which we try to accomplish these things. Making plans and setting goals are good things if we don’t lose track of where we’re at the moment. There have been times in my life where I have been so focused on accomplishing a goal, that I paid no attention to what was going on around me. The end result of this was often my own detriment or even negatively impacting others, while wasting the time I’ve been blessed with.
Use Each Moment You Have
Focusing only on some point in the future can cause us to miss out on the important time of the present. I read a quote once that said, “If people threw away their money as thoughtlessly as they throw away their time, we would think them insane. Yet time is infinitely more precious than money because money can’t buy time.” We all understand that once time is past, you can never get it back. That makes our time more valuable that any worldly possession. This demands that we understand the value of each individual moment we have in this world. The apostle Paul said,
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Eph. 5:15-16
He joins the idea of walking circumspectly with making the most of your time. If we do not pay attention to each moment, we are not using the time we have properly. He then goes on in verse 17 to write about not being foolish, but understanding God’s will. If you don’t understand what God’s will is, you are unwise, not careful and do not make the most of your time. The idea of making the most of your time (redeeming the time) is to rescue it from loss. Don’t miss out on the moments you have, but use them (each and every one of them) properly. We can’t do this, if we don’t know God’s will.
Take In Each Moment
Experiences point us to God. They are given to show us God. We know something of the sweetness of His friendship and blessings, because we have tasted His gifts. We know something of the refreshment of a relationship with Him, because we have experienced this with other people. We know something of the warmth of His affection, because we remember the warmth of our friends and family.
Whatever action is good in this life, whatever idea is good and true, whatever thing we see, hear, smell, taste or touch of all God’s creation — all of it is designed by God as a sign and taste of what it is like to enjoy God himself. However, the creation and all that is in this physical world is not God. These are His good gifts, and if our enjoyment terminates on them, we are not worshipers but idolaters, no matter how much we thank God for them. Thanking God for something you love more than God doesn’t make you a worshiper. We are created to know and enjoy God, not just His gifts. Appreciate the things in this world, but understand their purpose is to point us to God.
Paul put it this way:
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
“Taking in each moment we have” or “enjoying the experience” is a great way to appreciate the limited time we have in this life, but an even better way to appreciate the God we serve. Is your service to God more about the gifts or the giver?
“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive may fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:17–18
Appreciate all God has given you, no matter how much, how little or how that compares to others. But more importantly, appreciate who God Is. Appreciate what God has done. Appreciate what God is doing. Appreciate what God will do for you. Enjoy the experience of serving a wonderful and loving God.
Cedar Park Church of Christ