Now Is Not to Be Wasted
Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone— as though we had never been here. – Psalm 103:15-16
Last week I ran my first half-marathon. During my training I learned that I have a habit of worrying about the miles ahead. I often looked down at my feet and wondered, “Will I make it? Will I have enough energy to keep going?” Occasionally I got myself so worked up with anxiety that I considered just walking, when in reality at that moment I felt just fine! And so I made a commitment that when I ran the half-marathon I wouldn’t look down at my feet. I would look up and soak up the scenery, living in the moment. And that made all the difference.
Truth is I sometimes live life that way. I get focused on the future, wondering and worrying and getting worked up. I allow my head to spin into the future and miss the moment. And that’s a problem because, as scripture reminds us, life is brief. All we have is now. And now is not to be wasted.
A brilliant pastoral colleague in another congregation was talking about retirement just last December. What fun to dream about how he would spend those days. He died just last week, a mere five months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It was yet another reminder that all we have is now. And now is not to be wasted.
In light of all that I’m thinking about four interconnected things:
- Humility. It dawns on me that my anxiety about the future is all about me, worrying about what will happen to me. Humility is remembering that God is center, not me. And so I want to hold the future more loosely, entrusting it to God.
- Perspective. I want to ask myself more often, “Will this really matter in a week, a month, a year from now?” And if the answer is “honestly, no” then I want to respond to it accordingly, with greater wisdom.
- Gratitude. I want to live grateful for this day, and everything in it. I want to look up, see and give thanks.
- Investment. I want to invest in today. What am I living this day for? I love to plan, and will continue to plan. But more often I want to be mindful of what I’m living this day for.
So, what does the brevity of life mean for you? How does it change the way you live and respond to life? And what are you living this day for?
Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN