No Time Like the Present

The old saying is that the past is a canceled check, and the future is a promissory note; only the present is cash on hand.  The year of our Lord 2012 is in the record books.  Nothing about it can be changed.  The year 2013 lies before us like a clean canvas before a blind painter.  Who knows how it will look when finished?  The only moment of time we can do anything about is the moment we're in right now.  There is no time like the present because it is the only time that we really own.

We must leave the past in the past.  We can learn from our past, but we mustn't live in it.  Perhaps our better days are behind us, but even so, we cannot go back.  Solomon instructs, "Do not say, 'Why were the former days better than these?' For you do not inquire wisely concerning this." (Ecclesiastes 7:10).  Or perhaps our former days are filled with regrets.  Paul's were (1 Timothy 1:13-15).  We cannot change them.  We can get forgiveness if needed, and we can choose to do better today, but we cannot go back.

We must prepare for the future, but live in the present.   The future is uncertain. We do not have full control of it. "You do not know what will happen tomorrow"  (James 4:14).  Tomorrow is only ours if the Lord wills (James 4:13; Luke 12:16-20).

The apostle Paul's approach toward both past and future is ideal.  He said, "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14).  Paul forgot the past, reached toward the future, but lived in the present.  Notice the use of the present tense in the preceding verse: "I do not count . . . one thing I do . . . forgetting . . . reaching . . . I press."

What are you doing with the present?  Are you making the most of this day and doing your best to serve the Lord in this moment of time?  Live in the moment.  The Bible says, "Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord"  (Colossians 3:23a).  And, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might"  (Ecclesiastes 9:10).   And a poet wrote . . .

Today is mine to do with what I will
Today is mine my own special cup to fill
To die a little that I might learn to live
To take from life that I might learn to give
Today is mine

Like most men I cursed the present to avoid the peace of mind
And raise my thoughts beyond tomorrow
and vision there more peace of mind
But as I view this day around me I can see the fool I've been
For today's the only garden we can tend
Today is mine  

(Editor’s Note: The years were changed for  current date!)