This blog post is an excerpt from Longings Toward a God-Centered Life: Meditations on Great Thoughts and Passages by John Hawkins.1
Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future—I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now! The life of faith is lived one day at a time. It is today for which we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow. — Elisabeth Elliot
When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” — John 21:21-22 (ESV)
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. — Deuteronomy 29:29 (ESV)
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” — James 4:13-15 (ESV)
And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you . . . — Luke 12:19-20 (ESV)
I love every phrase of the quote given above from Elisabeth Elliot. In her inimitable way, she clearly puts me back in my place. My place is today. But today is not for trivial pursuits, for confused influence or self-absorption. It is my 24 hours given to me by God in which I must trust and follow Him, for His glory and honor.
But I wander away from this focus—“What about tomorrow? What about someone else’s responsibility? What about all those things I don’t understand about today?” God’s calling for me today isn’t primarily about any of those things. It is rather about believing Him, following Him, doing His words in this minute, in this hour, in this day, with this uncertainty. If I choose the diversion of these other paths, I’ll not live this day well nor have the perspective and grace needed to lead and love others well.
Christian leaders have to learn how to plan for tomorrow while maintaining awareness of and dependence on God’s will and God’s grace concerning tomorrow. We also have to wrestle with charting a course for long-term influence while realizing that our lives are “a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
And Christian leaders have to avoid with all that is in them from lapsing into the “fat, dumb and happy” perspective of self-sufficiency that we’re warned against in Luke 12:19-20. With all of the resources and accomplishments we may have stacked up, what will they mean in that moment, perhaps today, in which our soul is required of us?
So Elisabeth clearly puts us all in our place. Our place is today. May we run to Jesus with today and find in Him all we need for faith and faithfulness today, for His glory and honor alone.
Take it to the Lord
- Read through this meditation again, asking God to open your eyes, mind, heart and soul to His message for you today.
- As He speaks to you, listen. Ask Him to guide you as to what you should do with what He says and for the grace to do so.
- End your time with some form of worship—prayer, praise, thanksgiving or surrender.
- The purpose of publishing these meditations is to share perspectives for leaders and followers on biblical understanding for daily living. The meditations are derived from John’s reflections on quotes from Christian leaders and from God’s Word.