Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” (Exodus 3:2) What if Moses had not stopped?
‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’ (Joshua 3:8) What if Joshua and priests had not stepped in the river?
...with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. (1 Samuel 17:40) What if David had not gone out to face Goliath?
“Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened. (Luke 2:15) What if the shepherds had not gone to Bethlehem?
The Bible is filled with stories of those who fully embraced the moment before them, who turned aside and chose to live in the present, to seize the opportunity and in so doing, to experience the blessing of God.
As we approach Christmas we find ourselves once again being drawn into the frenzied pace that is part of our North American holiday culture. There is a hurried-ness build into the season in which we find ourselves moving from one gathering to the next and scurrying at home to plan and prepare so that everything is 'just right'. I suppose these things are not necessarily of concern, unless, unless we fail to slow down long enough to simply enjoy the moment and those with whom we share the moment; unless they draw us away from the which is most important -- being in that place where God can meet with us in any moment.
We often talk about living in the moment, being fully present, not taking anything granted but living each day with an awareness of what God is doing today, living for Him and enjoying the fullness of life around us. But do we really live that way? So often, my mind races ahead and I wonder why is it so hard to be present with those I love and care for and to fully engage in the moment; am I missing out on what God is doing because I'm too busy looking ahead; am I not picking up on His leadings and promptings because I have my own agenda?
Solomon reminds us...We should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. (Ecclesiastes 5:19-20 - The Message) I love the way Peterson captures this text, 'make the most'...'God deals out joy in the present'.
Jesus said...do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. (Matthew 6:34)
Isaiah writes...do not dwell on the past (Isaiah 43:18) and the writer of Hebrews tells us...be content with what you have. (Hebrews 13:5)
The example of Abraham and Moses, Joshua, David and the shepherds all remind us of the need to open ourselves up to what God is doing today, in this moment. As we continue to move through the Christmas season and into a New Year, may we make time for those that matter most to us, taking in each moment shared as a gift from God. May we have eyes to see and ears to listen that we might be a blessing to those who cross our paths. And may we make time to slow down, to listen, to be in that place where God has our full attention that He might lead us to receive all that He has for us each and every moment.
My friends at Valley, this Christmas may we truly learn what it means to live in the moment.