“Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself.” – Matthew 6:34 (TPT).
There are many phrases from the movie Christopher Robin that remind us just how important and special our time is today and why we need to slow down occasionally. For example, Winnie the Pooh says, “your life is happening now, right in front of you.” He also commented that “there’s always time for a smackeral of wonder.” And finally, “What day is it? Christopher Robin: It’s today. Winnie The Pooh: My favorite day.”
Matthew 6:34 is a deep and moving passage where Jesus tells us to live one day at a time. It is hard counsel, and He wants to warn us against being too troubled about the future. Tomorrow will have enough troubles of its own. Yet we find ourselves spending more and more time either dwelling on the past or thinking about the future. Yes, we know we have to live in the present, but the past and the future keep clouding what is happening literally right in front of us. As a result, we are missing the present.
When we dwell on the past we feel regret for what we’ve done or should have done; we experience resentment toward a person or persons; we dwell in our hurts or in our failures. That is not our whole past by any stretch of the imagination, but it is the part we dwell on. When we live in the future we live in the fear of the unknown or what may be; we worry about how events may turn out; we conjure up scenarios that cause us great anxiety. Fear, worry, and anxiety. Not a particularly good way to spend your day.
No wonder why people who dwell on the past and who live in the future fail to experience the peace and joy that the Lord wants to give them in the present moment. The past is gone; the future is not here, and it simply does not make sense to spend our mental energy on things that we can’t control. It suggests that we have a lack of trust in the mercy for our past and a lack of trust in His loving care for our future.
What are the benefits of living in the present moment? The greatest benefit is the peace that it brings. No regrets, no worries, just dwelling in the present moment. Pooh sure does. He doesn’t care what he’s missing out on; he’s too enrapt by the present. He says that today is “my favorite day. Yesterday, when it was tomorrow, it was too much day for me.” That is part of the reason why Pooh is the greatest friend in the Hundred Acre Wood: He never chooses work over caring for his loved ones. He enjoys the sweetness of life immensely without worrying about last week or next week. He said, “yesterday is history. tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.”
Living in the present helps us to be fully present to the people that we encounter each day and to see Christ in them. Lastly, living in the present actually benefits our future because by staying focused on the most important aspects of our lives we will be well prepared for whatever the future brings us.
- Why does the past and future seem so important to people? To you?
- What can we do to live in the present?