Last week, Misty, Davidson and I took a quick day trip to Chattanooga. It’s the city where I served as a youth minister in the late 90’s. It’s the city where Davidson was born. It’s the city where we still have many friends and where we have so many good memories. It’s surrounded by mountains and hills and has a scenic river running through it. It makes for a great get away for a day or two.
As we spent time in Chattanooga, we noticed that it had changed quite a bit. Some of the stores and restaurants we used to enjoy have closed. Other restaurants and stores have opened in their place. There was more traffic on the streets. (Chattanooga has grown quite a bit in the past fifteen years!) Davidson remarked about how we kept talking about how everything had changed. Things were different. We still enjoy Chattanooga, and plan to go back, but it’s not the same city. It’s different now.
Cities change. People change. Health changes. Culture changes. We live in a world of continual change. As everything seems to change around us, it’s tempting to stay focused on how everything “used to be”. We can keep on looking to the past and reflect upon how good life was. We can remember how good things were back in the good ol’ days. People were better. Restaurants were better. Entertainment was better. Society was better. Everything was better “back then”.
It’s tempting and even comforting to live that way.
It’s also not a good way to live. When we live in the past and continually focus on what has gone before, we miss out on the life God is giving us in the present. I’ve heard it said that the present is God’s daily “gift” to us. It’s where He wants us to live. It’s where He wants us to make a difference for Him. If you are reading this, God needs you to live in the here and now. Why? Because your life has a purpose that God has established, and that life can only be lived in this present moment.
It’s ok to remember the past. We need the comfort of our memories. It’s fun to remember what we have done and the memories of loved ones who has passed on. Memories are a part of God’s blessing to us. We can also learn from mistakes and errors from our past and the past of our country. The past is not a bad thing.
It’s also not where we were called to live. We are called to live now. We are called to serve now. We live, love and serve now. The past blesses us, and the future awaits. The present is now. Today is the only day you have. Use it to love and serve others well. If you do, it will be a blessed memory that one day will be your past and a day you can reflect upon with thanksgiving.
Remember the past but live in the present. God has a purpose for you.