“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.” – Acts 17:26-27
One of my favorite hobbies is watching old black and white movies. My favorite actors have been deceased for years. They include Jimmy Stewart, Humphry Bogart, Errol Flynn and Cary Grant. I’ve seen the majority of their movies. My favorite means of watching these movies is the Turner Classic Movies Channel. This channel regularly shows movies that I enjoy and that feed my appreciation for the past years of cinema.
As I’ve watched these movies, I’ve been reminded that many of the struggles that we have in today’s society are many of the same struggles we still experience today. Racism is apparent in many of these movies. Sometimes, it’s acknowledged as a plot point in the movie, but sometimes it’s just part of the movie. Comments made about non-white characters can be jarring when you watch these older movies. Addiction is also present. Some of the movies concern characters who are alcoholics. Illegal drug use is present in certain movies. Smoking is rampant in the movies from the 1930’s and 1940’s. (It’s stunning how many characters smoked in these movies.) There is adultery, deceit, greed, envy, political division and other sins and conflicts that still challenge and assault us today.
These movies have reminded me that is sin is a continual part of the human story. We often look back upon former days with nostalgia. We remember how good they were and how there didn’t seem to be as many challenges. Life seemed simpler. People were better. We didn’t have the mess that we experience today. Things were better just a few years ago.
Except those former years still possessed challenges. We still struggled with the sins I mentioned above. Some of our friends and neighbors didn’t have the right to go and do things that others among us have always enjoyed. There was pain, strife and the consequences of sin that impacted families and damaged and destroyed lives. These years weren’t as great as we sometimes remember.
These years are interesting to look back and reflect upon. I enjoy so many movies from this era. But this era isn’t our era. That time isn’t this time. The men and women who lived their lives decades ago were here at that time for the purpose God had given them. They had their purpose and they either fulfilled or didn’t based upon their choices. We are here now. We have a God-given purpose to fulfill now. This is our time. This is our era. These are the years with which God has given us.
Let’s live for God today. As we appreciate the past, let’s not glorify it or make it into something it wasn’t. No generation is perfect or sinless. Let’s learn from it and choose to live for the glory of God today. This is our time. Let’s live life to the fullest as we follow the Father.