Friday, November 11, 2011

Open the Present

I stopped to photograph these flowers
in Rockford, Illinois

"Now is the time I must learn to stop taking satisfaction in what I have done, or being depressed because the night will come and my work will come to an end. Now is the time to give what I have to others and not reflect on it. I wish I had learned the knack of it, of giving without question or care. I have not, but perhaps I still have time to try." (Thomas Merton, October 2, 1962, A Year with Thomas Merton, Kindle Locations 5083-5086)

I think it was Annie Dillard, in her book The Writing Life, who wrote something like this: don't save your best writing, your best stories, your best illustrations, for later. Spend them now. I view preaching this way. This coming Sunday morning I will pour out all God has given me as today I pour myself into the biblical text and prayer. This is not about comparing yourself with others, or being worse or better than others. Comparison stalls the now-activity of God.

Spend the best that you have now on what God has called you to do. Don't save your best up for some great occasion or great moment in the unknown future. If you don't give of your best for Christ, now, in the present moment, that future great moment will never come. God has given you spiritual gifts. Unwrap them today, and behold as the Spirit builds up the Church.

God has told me, "John, you have much to give." Finally I have heard this. So I am giving all I can for the glory of God. Imperfectly, but truly. God has given you much. You are no spiritual pauper. Use what God has given you now for his Kingdom and glory.

Husbands, spend time with your wife today. Friends, befriend one another today. Church, move now. Come, now is the time to worship. It's not time for another meeting to discuss "movement"; today is the day of action, of rescue and salvation. Thank God for the past. Learn from the past. Don't wait for the future. The only moment you have is the present.

Present your life to God. Be present to God. Open the present.