Focus on the Present

Reprinted from the Salt & Light Australia Daily Devotional.

Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:33-34

It has been a really nutsy time for me lately: a season of busyness. I have been working on boundaries this year, but there came a moment in COVID lockdown when I felt our family finances needed me to step up. I decided to say “Yes” to everything that came along.

At the moment I have four employers, as well as teaching, speaking, writing and preaching gigs. What has helped me is knowing that I only have one week of this stress to go. I’m looking forward to a season of rest in December.

I did have time to speak to my spiritual director during the week, and she helped to unearth some issues. I realized that I was so intent on just gritting my teeth and getting through, that I was losing the opportunity to enjoy the present.

What is more, my focus on the next thing, the next thing, the next thing…was also about avoiding processing the past.

Finally, to get through, I had adopted a posture that was more remote and less authentic than the way I normally am.

As my spiritual director commented, God cannot be experienced in the future or the past, only in the present.

Jesus makes this clear in this passage from Matthew 6. We should not worry about tomorrow, but instead, seek first God’s kingdom. In other words, we should seek God and his will in the present.

For me, that means addressing a couple of things:

  • Following up on Michelle’s suggestion from last Tuesday’s Salt & Light, I will be creating that space and silence in the morning to acknowledge and encounter God.
  • Seeing each day as an opportunity to work with Jesus.
  • Being vulnerable, not pretending to be something that I am not.
  • Seeking God in the present.
  • Trusting God for tomorrow.

Think It Through

  • How much are you conscious of being present with God in the busyness of your day? What does that look like for you?
  • How much do you trust God for tomorrow? What does that look like for you?

Prayer
Loving Lord,
Forgive me for the ways I wrestle control from you.
Forgive me for missing out on experiencing the present by rushing through with my eyes fixed on tomorrow.
Help me to focus on you, and being present with you in the everyday.
Help me not to just do my work well, but to be truly sensitive to the prompting of your Spirit.
Thank you that you are trustworthy, and that I can entrust my future to you.
Let me learn from the troubles of today.
Thank you that Jesus gives us an example of someone who was always fully present with people, in whatever context he found himself.
Amen

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Kara Martin is the author of Workship: How to Use Your Work to Worship God, and Workship 2: How to Flourish at Work. She is also a lecturer with Mary Andrews College. Kara has worked in media and communications, human resources, business analysis and policy development roles, in a variety of organizations, and as a consultant. Kara has a particular passion for integrating our Christian faith and work, and helping churches connect with the workers in their congregations. She is currently conducting research on how to effectively equip workplace Christians to integrate their faith and work.

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