“Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2).
IF GOD LIVES IN AN ETERNAL “NOW,” THERE IS A SENSE IN WHICH WE SHOULD ALSO LIVE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT. The past is something we should learn from and the future is something we should plan for, but the present is the only chance we have to actually do anything. If we let the present moment go by unused, then we’ve wasted the very “stuff” of life. So we need to do three things.
(1) Pay more attention to the present moment. Many of us miss the value of the present moment because our minds are somewhere else. Whether we’re “living in the past” or “daydreaming about the future” or we’re just too busy with trivia to savor the moment, the end result is often the same: we find life getting away from us without our having thought about it as it went rushing by.
(2) Use the present moment. A normal human life is comprised of millions of “moments” — so many that there seems to be an endless supply of them, at least while we’re young. It doesn’t seem such a great tragedy to let some of them go by unimproved. But truly, there is no present moment that should be despised or thrown away. To throw away any moment is to insult its Giver.
(3) Appreciate the present moment. I used to think that life was made up of many drab, ordinary moments and only a few that could be called wonderful or gracious. How wrong I was! And how sad I am now to see how much of life I missed while I was waiting for some “big” moment to come along. God’s best gifts are often delivered to us in plain paper wrapping. This moment is almost always an extraordinary thing, if we have the eyes to see and the heart to appreciate it. Let us never underestimate the grace that may be in the present moment, whenever it may be.
In general, we need to be better stewards of all the “little” things that God’s grace sends our way. Paul said that we need to be vigilant in prayer “with thanksgiving.” And he also said, “In everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). There is not much that happens at any moment of any day that we shouldn’t give thanks for — either because it is enjoyable or because it is useful.
“The small moment is the carrier of God’s most endearing gift. It must not be permitted to slip away unsavored and unappreciated” (Gerhard E. Frost).