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Faith Moment
May 5, 2014
Nostalgia

Ah, the Good Old Days!

Nostalgia is an interesting thing. It embellishes our memories and makes the past look and feel so much better than it really was. Perhaps you have a storyteller in your family who possesses the ability to tell stories of the past so eloquently that it makes you feel cheated that you weren’t born earlier. I love history, I love stores, and yet...

The writer of Ecclesiastes wrote, “There is a time for everything.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) We all manage time in different ways. Some of us live perpetually in the past. We treasure those relationships, experiences, and places; those loves won and lost. Others are always hoping to live; the best is yet ahead, somewhere over the rainbow when things will be wonderful.

Is this a symptom of an inability to dwell in the present? In a recent book called Elsewhere USA, the author cites some of the challenges to living a focused or attentive life. Because of the invasive conditions of modern technology and the press of incessant demands, many of us are seldom “present” in anything we do. We are not present for our spouses, not present for our friends, not present even in our own imaginations, as the desire of being elsewhere overrules all else.

Writing to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul urged, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.” (Ephesians 5:15) Some translations render his instruction “redeeming the time.” I like that. To see all of time in the light of eternity, to see every moment and every opportunity as a chance to glorify God, to receive life and experiences for what they are, and most of all, to be present. That is, to be present to others, in love, service, and availability; to be present when needed, as my workplace, friends, or community may need my contribution.

I don’t mean in any sense to devalue the role of telling old stories or memories. After all, they are a huge part of what makes life rich. I do propose, however, that we be careful to not allow any view of time to eclipse our ability to be fully present to our God and those who need us most today. The wise preacher was right; there is indeed a time for everything.

With love,
Mike

 

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