What you are about to read runs the risk of sounding mean or mean spirited. Please trust me, I have no intention of it being either of these. I do desire it to be challenging to all who take the time to read on.
Ready? Here goes…
I know a guy whom I fear is stuck in high school. Now, in all fairness, at one time in our lives we all felt stuck in high school. But then we graduated and got on with it. The problem is, the guy I am referring to is now over 60 years old.
I fear he’s still there.
Why do I think he’s stuck in high school? By simply glancing at the content on his Facebook page. By reading his posts. Just about everything he posts are about the past. It’s all about past friendships he’s desperately seeking to keep alive; past memories he’s reliving, past accomplishments he’s reveling in.
It’s all about the past. Not the present. Not the future. The past.
Someone has said there is a certain way to know when you are dying…
“You are dying when your memories of the past exceed your dreams of the future.”
You are dying when you are attempting to live your life in reverse. You are dying when all the great stuff of your life is behind you.
In all fairness, it’s easy to want to live in the past. It’s something we all are prone to want to do. The past is safe. It is secure. We’ve travelled over this path before. It didn’t consume us then and it’s not likely to consume us now. It’s also easy to venerate and exaggerate the great times that have long since passed.
Living in the present, and daring to dream about the future is risky. Extremely risky. It is dangerous. Things can go wrong. We can fail.
This brings to mind a poster I once saw when I was in college and have never forgotten. It was a picture of a massive sailing ship safely anchored in a harbor. The caption went something like this… “The safest place for a ship to be is safely anchored in a harbor, but ships were created to sail the seas, not sit safely in harbors.” Well said.
Paul said it this way,
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 3:13-14
What about the past needs to be forgotten? Ready for this? Past successes AND past failures. Dwelling on either can trap you in the past. We need to let go of both of them. Both will weigh you down and rob you of God’s precious gifts of the present and the future.
Listen to these words of Jesus,
“No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62
Strong words… wouldn’t you say? Why then did Jesus say them?
When you spend your time in the past you are forfeiting every opportunity God is presenting you today. You will not notice his nudges. You will not seize the moment because you will not be aware of the moment, much less the day.
This week we are beginning our series on Jesus’ teachings regarding the Kingdom of God. What’s so significant about these kingdom teachings? Only this… Jesus’ teaching on the Kingdom is God’s way to challenge you to make the most of this very moment, as well as to prepare you for the future he has prepared for you!
Look forward… that’s the direction you will find God! Let your thoughts dwell on the Kingdom that’s coming and that is now in our midst. This is one ship you don’t want to let sail without you!