Make These the "Good Old Days"
- Thursday, June 17, 2010
When Donald Trump writes a book, it becomes an instant best seller sought after by businessmen and women from around the world, and all of those wanting insight and desiring the riches of an established billionaire.
We have an even greater source of wisdom, God, through the words of King Solomon (thought to have been the author of Ecclesiastes). He was very much like the Donald Trump of 900 B.C. He had everything a man could desire at his finger tips—money, power, women and wisdom, yet he warns us not to be consumed with yesterday.
Don't long for the ‘good old days,' for you don't know whether they were any better than today (Ecclesiastes 7:10).
Why not? For many of us, those days were great. They were filled with memorable moments and people who we sorely miss. Why wouldn't we want those days back again?
I had a conversation about this subject with a pastor who I used to serve under regarding the days we spent together in youth ministry. We talked about how great it would be to get our team back together, how much fun we would have, and all of the things we can do together "for God." At the end of our conversation, we sadly, but gratefully, concluded we can (and are) probably doing more for his kingdom apart from each other than we can together. It wouldn't be the same anyway—a different church, different kids and a different time and place.
Solomon confirmed our thoughts on the latter part of the passage. We don't know if the past would be any better than today, so why wish for something that can never be or for something we cannot determine?
For some, today can't be any worse than yesterday, the thought of the past often surfaces pain, broken promises, sadness and regret. Many don't long for the good old days, but are rather troubled by them and continue to "relive" them through the scars and baggage they carried away from them. Some live preoccupied with too many "what ifs," "if only," and "I should haves."
What if I went to college, if only I had the guts to approach that person, what if I took that job and moved, I should have bought or sold that stock, what if…?
There's nothing wrong with thinking about the past, but there is a huge difference between "reminiscing" over (and learning from) and "longing" for (or letting it consume you).
When we long for or allow something from our past to take over our thinking, we get stuck in it, maybe not physically, but internally and emotionally. Our life begins to revolve around something that had happened or something that was missed out upon.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past (Isaiah 43:18).
Many years ago, I was presented with a question, "If your life was a cruise ship, which direction would your deck chair face?" It seemed like an innocent and simple enough question off hand, but your response can say a lot about you and where you are.
Would you place your chair in the bow (front) watching for what's coming ahead with the breeze in your face, would it be on the side of the ship watching the world go by, or would you sit in the stern (back) more protected from the elements watching the ship's wake?
At different times in our lives we may visit all three locations, but each of us has a tendency to "live" in one part more than the other.
If we choose the bow, we look to guide the direction we want to go and take a proactive role in our future. We can see trouble coming in order to ward off potential danger. We face the wind and the spray of the bow crashing through the water, but we also live with our eyes on the horizon ahead able to deal with life as it comes.
If we faced our chair on the side, we would watch other ships go by without any real sense of where we were heading. We have a beautiful view, and that's exactly what it would be, a "view." We would be a spectator on the ship of life.
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