Living in the Moment and for the Moment
Peter BeckPeter serves as assistant professor of religion at Charleston Southern University where he teaches church history and theology. While serving as senior pastor in Louisville, Ky., he completed his PhD in historic theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His dissertation, The Voice of Faith: Jonathan Edwards's Theology of Prayer, is soon to be published. He, his wife Melanie, and their two kids, Alex (12) and Karis (7), live near Charleston, SC. Peter's goal for his teaching and writing ministries is "love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith" (1 Tim 1:5).
- 2009 May 19
Vacations are interesting things. That is, vacations are interesting things, if you can afford to take one. If not, a staycation is your best bet but that model of time off doesn’t fit my analogy for today. So, we’ll stick to vacations. Vacations are interesting things.
Late this year, my wife and I will celebrate our 25th anniversary (no we’re not that old, we got married when we were 9(teen)). In honor of the momentous occasion, we’ll be celebrating our marriage covenant renewal on a long cruise. The trip has been planned for 6 months. The trip has been paid in full for 6 days. Now it’s just six months until we depart. But who’s counting?
We’ve been looking forward to this vacation for six months already and we have six more to go. The prospect of a week alone with my best friend is tantalizing stuff. If I let them, those mental images of sunny beaches and long walks along them could consume my thoughts and my energies. Yet, here’s the rub, if I get so focused on December, I’m going to miss May, June, July … well, you understand. I need to remember, there’s a lot of life to be lived in between now and then.
As Christians we struggle with the same dilemma. We can become so consumed with the prospects of an eternity with Jesus, the idea of seeing long, lost loved ones once again that we give little thought to today. We become so heavenly-minded that we miss the world as it passes quickly by.
The challenge for heaven-bound believers is to keep our goal ever before us and our eyes on the road beneath us. The Bible is full of word pictures to this very affect. Paul tells us to run the race before us (future). The writer of Hebrews says to throw off the things that can trip us up as we run (present). Jesus told the Apostles that He was coming back (future) and the angel told them to go do what Jesus had told them to do (present). The Christian life is one of both present obedience and future blessings.
Living in both worlds, the present and the future, can be challenging. Sometimes the luster of the present can mesmerize us, distract us from the promise, and shackle us with today. Other times, we become so consumed with the promise, the hope of eternity with our God and Savior, that we forget that He left us here for a purpose, today.
We need both, the present and the future, to sustain us in our long walk. The daily grind gives us the opportunity to exercise our gratitude and develop our obedience, to prove our love for our Savior. The glorious finish line just ahead, just over the horizon gives us the hope that what we endure today will end and that the end will be better than anything we’ve seen along the way.
There are just 209 days until my wife and I celebrate God’s remarkable gift of marriage. Before then, however, I hope to see hundreds of lives changed, souls saved, and great things accomplished in my home and for the kingdom. Thank God for the future. Praise God for the present.