Sunday, December 13, 2015

Matthew 6:27, 33-34 (NLT): Focusing on Today

Matthew 6:27, 33-34 (NLT): Focusing on Today

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? . . . .
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Jesus reminds us that although our anxieties and worries are part of the everyday struggle of this world, we are to put our faith in Him, to “seek the Kingdom of God above all else.” When we incessantly worry about tomorrow, we are piling unnecessary stress upon ourselves. Concern and planning are necessary for providing for our families and ourselves. “Worry,” however, is a distraction; it is a tool of temptation. When we live in the immediacy of the moment, when we lay down our heavy burdens and rest in the love of Jesus (Matthew 11:28), we are more present and aware of how God is working through us, even in our times of doubt, struggle, and failure. By seeking God in the moment, harnessing the gift of grace in the now, we catch glimpses of God working in, through, with, and around us.

Many years ago while strolling through downtown Louisville, Kentucky, the spiritual writer Thomas Merton had a mystical experience of God that changed the direction of his life.  In his famous memoir, Merton writes:

In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness… This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud… I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun. (The Seven Storey Mountain)

Merton was able to recognize the immediacy of the moment.  He was able to push aside future anxiety and see God in the people who stood in front of him.  In that moment, he witnessed a life-changing revelation.  I pray that we, too, put aside the anxieties and worries of tomorrow so that we can witness the love and connectivity that God offers us today.

Please keep each other and our special intentions in prayer this week.  

May you all be blessed and encouraged in the love and peace of Christ.  
Stan