Monday Morning Devotion-November 16, 2020
The Importance of Now
Give us this day our daily bread. Luke 11:2
Do you ever get to thinking so far ahead that you lose your focus on the present---what is happening now? I think we are all guilty of that at times.
Let me ask you another question. Do you ever get so wrapped up in thinking about something that happened in the past---good or bad---that you fail to concentrate on today?
Yep, been there done that.
Recently I read some excerpts from Mark Batterson's upcoming book "Win the Day" which is scheduled to come out at the end of December and in the first chapter he challenged my thinking. I want to share with you some of the ideas he proposed that might be of help during this upcoming holiday season or any time as a matter of fact.
First let's look at a simple verse in the Lord's Prayer. Batterson points out that the Lord's Prayer says: "Give us this day our daily bread." Then he says: "Can I tell you what I wish it said? Give us this week our weekly bread. Better yet, Give us this year our yearly bread. That way we wouldn't have to depend on God every day. But that, of course, is the point of the prayer and that is its genius."
In a study made by a couple of psychologists it was pointed out that the average person spends 46.9% of their time thinking about something other than what they're doing in the present moment. Batterson says that points out that "We're half-present half the time, which means we're half-alive.
When William Osler was a 21-year old medical student in 1871 he read a sentence that changed his life. He was feeling the pressure of final exams and the prospect of starting a medical practice led to a near nervous breakdown. Then he read this from Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle: "Our grand business undoubtedly is, not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand."
Then, when Osler was standing on the deck of an ocean liner, crossing the Atlantic, he had an aha moment while standing on the ship's bridge. The captain was demonstrating how by pressing a button he could turn parts of the ship into watertight compartments.
Following those thoughts Osler came up with the idea of "living in day-tight compartments." Osler said: "The load of to-morrow added to that of yesterday, carried to-day makes the strongest falter." That is so true as Batterson points out "We feel overwhelmed by yesterday's mistakes and underqualified for tomorrow's opportunities that we are tempted to quit before we even start."
Osler would become one of the most famous medical doctors of his generation and become known as "The Father of Modern Medicine." He organized the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He was even knighted Sir William by the king of England.
Batterson recalled the time he co-chaired a panel with Emmitt Smith, who is an NFL Hall of Famer. He played for the Dallas Cowboys. I forget where he played his college ball. OK, I didn't forget. He played at the University of Florida. Well, he almost came to Florida State. He had to drive past there from his home in Pensacola on the way to Gainesville.
Anyway, Emmitt set the NFL rushing record with 18,355 which means he carried the football for 10.4 miles with 'three-hundred-pound defensive tackles giving him a flat tire every 4.2 yards." He did it°one game at a time, one play at a time, one yard at a time."
Batterson said that Emmitt shared his secret to success with the panel. He called it "the twenty-four-hour rule." Win or lose Emmitt gave himself a twenty-four-hour window to celebrate the win or lament the loss. Then the next day it was back to business. Back to the basics.
That's the way Osler's day-tight compartments work. Focus on now.
Remember the expiration date on the manna from heaven that God provided the Israelites who were stranded in the wilderness? One day!
What did Jesus tell us about our anger? Ephesians 4:26 says "Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry." We are not to carry it over into the future or become a factor when it is in the past as we live in day-tight compartments.
Jesus says: "Take up your cross and follow me." When? Tomorrow? No, today!
And of course, in the beginning there was the evening and the morning and that became the first day°ever! But it was just one day. The day that God was focused on creating. Then He moved on to create the next day, then the next and He is still creating days one at a time.
On my morning walks (now 157 straight days without fail) I always remember to thank the Lord for "this gift of another day." Each day is a precious gift. It's one of a kind. There will never be another one exactly, 100% like it. We need to enjoy each one to the fullest and when it is over prepare to get the most out of the next day.
The importance of today cannot be overestimated.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the reminder that each day is your special creation to be enjoyed and used to honor you. Amen!
* "Win the Day" by Mark Batterson is scheduled to be published on December 29, 2020.