I have been distracted lately. Many different projects are swirling through my mind. Therefore, I am trying to read and listen to as much information as I can to accomplish these goals. At the same time, our family is looking for a home. The summer is ramping up. Which, in student ministry, means the race is about to begin. We have had family in town multiple times this month. Then, on top of it all, throw in some vehicle issues.
So, I have been distracted. I am sure that many of you can relate. Yet, before I continue this thought, let me tell you a story…
A few days ago, I was playing with my son. We were playing with his Noah’s ark toy. The challenge of the toy is to put the wooden animals into the ark through the proper holes. This is one of his favorite toys currently. We were sitting in the floor playing with the Noah’s ark toy and he got angry. He could not fit the kangaroo through its hole. So, in his anger, he yelled and threw the wooden kangaroo at the ark. I took this opportunity to gently correct him. Then, I handed him his kangaroo again. In that moment, something amazing happened. I saw him overcome his anger, size up his kangaroo, and put it in its proper place in the ark. We were both so excited for his accomplishment!
Immediately afterward, I paused and thought about how special it was for me to be in that moment with him. It was simple. He didn’t do a backflip. He is not a 2-year-old Sheldon Cooper. He simply overcame his anger and did a basic task. But it was special to him, and I was able to be present. Right there with him. I wasn’t listening to a podcast. I wasn’t thinking about work for that evening. I was there, 100%.
Later that day, I was thinking about this experience, and it brought to mind a verse I had been meditating upon that morning. I would like to share with you a few reflections from this verse.
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. – Psalm 118:24 CSB
I have an amazing ability to get tunnel vision. When I set a goal, I am going to do everything in my power to accomplish that goal and more. Many times, this tunnel vision can place my brain anywhere except where I am currently. I am thinking about the next meeting, the next step in the process, or the next conversation that I need to have. Yet, mentally I am not in the today in which the Lord has made.
This verse reminds us that today is the day God has made for you to live in. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow does not exist yet. This day, no matter how boring or normal, is the day the Lord has made for you to be present in.
It is so easy to get distracted from the current moment because we have desires to accomplish these great goals that we have set. Yet, a simple and often overlooked truth is: the best way to prepare for the future is to be as faithful as you can in the present. Tomorrow is not made better by over analyzing it and missing the day you are in currently. Tomorrow is made better by doing the tasks you have today really well.
For example, I have a goal to be a rockstar dad. This does not happen by dreaming about being a great dad. It happens by being present with my boy while he is putting animals in his ark. It happens by celebrating his small victories over his anger. It happens today, not tomorrow.
Today and your presence in it is not an accident. You are where you are now because today is the day the Lord has made. As Christians, we believe in a providential God. That means our God is a God who is active in our daily lives. He did not build the clock to watch it run by itself. No, he is involved in the smallest of details.
Therefore, your involvement in today has a part to play in God’s larger plan. He is using your faithfulness today to accomplish something you could never imagine. So, mothers, fathers, engineers, college students, farmers, your faithfulness today matters. Why? Because God has made today, and he does not waste his resources. Our mental, physical, and emotional involvement where God has us currently is obedience to our Father in heaven.
This passage also provides us with a command: rejoice and be glad in today! It reminds me of a quote from the famous sage, Master Ooguay in Kung Foo Panda. He says, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.”
Now, I know that was extremely corny, but it is true. Your presence in today and the people around you today are a gift from our good God. When Jesus speaks on prayer, he reminds his listeners that God does not give bad gifts. Therefore, today is a good gift from our good God. Our command is now to rejoice and be glad in it.
To obey this command, we must be “in” today. We must be invested in the people, places, and task of today. Then, let that faithfulness take care of tomorrow. This is not an irresponsible plea to trash all future planning. No, this is a plea to keep your planning during planning time and be present with your friends, family, co-workers, and Heavenly Father for the remainder of the day.
Yes, being present in today also means that you are present with God in this day. I believe an important truth to remember with this command is the omnipresence of God. Our God is present with us at all times and in all places. Therefore, when we are present to our day, we are present to our God who is at work in our day. When we focus much of our attention on our future tasks, we lose out on the ability to be present with our Heavenly Father in that moment.
Therefore, whether it is playing Noah’s ark with your little boy, praying to God as you are driving, or having a conversation with your neighbor, this text reminds us to enjoy today. It reminds us to be present in today because we are not here by accident. Our good God has providentially guided us here. He is calling us to rejoice and be glad in it.
I would like to leave you with the words of our Lord Jesus Christ:
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:33-34 CSB