This is your hour – creep upon it!
Summon your power, leap upon it!
Grasp it, clasp it, hold it tight!
Strike it, spike it, with full might!
If you take too long to ponder,
Opportunity may wander.
Yesterday’s a bag of sorrow;
No man ever finds Tomorrow.
Hesitation is a mire –
Climb out, climb up, climb on higher!
Fumble, stumble, risk a tumble,
Make a start, however humble!
Do your best and do it now!
Pluck and grit will find out how.
Persevere, although you tire –
While a spark is left, there’s fire.
Distrust doubt; doubt is a liar.
Even if all mankind jeer you,
You can force the world to cheer you.
“This is Your Hour” by Herbert Kaufman
Today. Today is the most underrated part of life…we long for yesterday and lust for tomorrow, and all the while the time that is now passes away. Friends, this is our hour! “Now” is the only time we have within our grasp.
The quote commonly attributed to Bill Keane may sound cliche, but its wisdom rings true:
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”
Do we treat every “today” as a gift, using each one graciously for the Giver’s intended purpose? Or are we rather, like spoiled children, tossing them aside with no more than an apathetic glance? We’ve all probably seen the scene at one time or another: a greedy child opening presents. Such a child rummages through his packages with lightning speed, furiously ripping off the wrapping paper…he shakes his gift bags upside down and says with an air of impertinence, “Well, is there anything else for me or isn’t there?!” It’s a sad sight to behold, and certainly doesn’t inspire future generosity from his elders.
If immature childhood ingratitude can be so ugly to behold, how much more do you suppose our adulthood ingratitude displeases the Lord? He gives us each day as a gift, and what do we as His greedy children reach for?
The Hypothetical Hereafter.
“Well, is there anything else for me or isn’t there?!” This is our attitude when we reach for another day than the one we’ve been given. Stop shaking that proverbial gift bag, Friends. It’s empty. Today is all we have – in fact, today is all we will ever have. God has set the boundary of time in such a way that it is never yesterday or tomorrow from our frame of reference.
He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.
– Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NASB)
Let us remember three important truths about our life here on earth…
“Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they’re here to stay. Oh, I believe in yesterday”– excerpt from “Yesterday” by The Beatles
Ironically, part of reaching for The Hypothetical Hereafter includes longing for yesterday. What do I mean by that? Well, when most of us long for the “good old days”, we probably aren’t planning on building a time machine to reverse our life to days of yore. I think what we are really saying, in essence, is that we want tomorrow to be like yesterday. We want to exchange what “was” for what “will be”. We want to create our future by cloning our past. Yet God’s word warns against this line of thinking:
Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this. – Ecclesiastes 7:10
While it is wise to learn from the past, it is not wise to live in the past. Constantly looking back keeps us from moving forward. This is not God’s will for our life, for He is a God of new beginnings:
Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? – Isaiah 43:18-19a
Don’t diminish God’s gift of today by rummaging through yesterday’s trash.
“Tomorrow, tomorrow! I love ya tomorrow! You’re always a day away!”– excerpt from “Tomorrow”, Annie: The Musical
Why is it so hard to love what we have, but so easy to fall in love with that which we lack? I suppose this is how Satan lures people into adulterous relationships…by making what is tangible and at the fingertips seem dull, while making the mystery of the unknown seem exciting. Yet what happens to those who chase after extra-marital relationships? They are never satisfied, for the new relationship loses its newness, too. Then they are off chasing the next person, and it is a never-ending chase of disappointment. In much the same way, we are never truly satisfied who attempt to chase down The Hypothetical Hereafter. He who is not satisfied with today would not find himself satisfied with tomorrow.
Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. – Proverbs 27:1
Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. – James 4:13-17
It is so easy to “boast” about the future. We may not use that terminology, but we surely do it often. We talk about how giving we will be…when we have more money. We talk about the work we will accomplish for the Lord…when the kids move out. We talk about what kind people we will be…when that irritable person starts treating us right. You see, who we are is made up of the choices we make every single day…not what we would do if our circumstances were different.
Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbor, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee. – Proverbs 3:27-28
Don’t diminish God’s gift of today by running to tomorrow’s treasure.
“This is your life, and today is all you’ve got now. And today is all you’ll ever have. Don’t close your eyes. This is your life, are you who you want to be?”– excerpt from “This is Your Life” by Switchfoot
May each and every one of us please the Giver by using His gift of today to the fullest. Don’t spend all your time looking behind you, nor all your time looking ahead into the distance. Our time is NOW.
Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. – Proverbs 4:25-26
Whatever it is that you need to make a priority in your life, why not make today the day to begin? Maybe it’s reading God’s word regularly, or being warmer to others…maybe it’s investing in a life skill, or being more intentional in your marriage and parenting. Whatever the case may be, don’t say “I did it yesterday”, or “I will do it tomorrow”. Yesterday is dead and gone, and tomorrow may never come. This is your life, are you who you want to be? Are you who God wants you to be?
I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. – John 9:4
But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today. – Hebrews 3:13a
Yesterday: Learn From It.
Tomorrow: Look Forward To It.
Today: LIVE IN IT!
Let us follow in the footsteps of our Savior, who proclaimed:
…I must walk today, and tomorrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. – Luke 13:33b
For God’s Glory,
Chelsea Bolks is a church of Christ minister’s wife, and the home educating mother of two children. She and her family currently reside in Northwest Iowa.