Posted by: pmarkrobb | January 27, 2016

eternity in our now

“The humans live in time but our Enemy destines them to eternity.
He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things,
to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present.
For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.”

These words were written by C.S. Lewis in the voice of his character Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters.  The “Enemy” Screwtape refers to is God, and the particular letter this quote was taken from is centered on the godly disposition of living in the present.  That particular letter was quite an easy read for me, as I believe myself to be someone who lives in the moment.  I think of the past from time to time, but I do not live in it.  I am aware of the future (or, my future), but I do not give priority to it.  I believe this to be a generally healthy thing — a good and godly practice.  I see this intention and choice in Jesus’ life as He walked among us.  I hear its truth echoed in scripture:

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Matthew 6:34 (NLT)

In the larger context of that verse, Jesus is teaching about money and possessions.  It is one of the places in his Sermon on the Mount where He encourages and challenges those who are listening to see this world for what it is.  “Don’t store up treasures here on earth..” (v.19)  “No one can serve two masters.” (v.24)  “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life — whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?” (v.25)  These words and truths are absolute and undoubtedly familiar to all of us.  Yet, somehow our lives so often fall short of speaking those truths.

My purpose in writing is not to call out those who may linger too long in the past or orient their life to the vapor that is the future.  I am not crafting a manifesto for the rightness of living in the moment, just as I am not judging those whose disposition it is to plan.  The Bible does not say “The heart of man wrongfully makes its plans,” it simply says “The heart of man plans his way…” (Proverbs 16:9)  C.S. Lewis writes, “To be sure, the Enemy wants men to think of the Future too – just so much as it is necessary for now planning the acts of justice or charity which will probably be their duty tomorrow.”

My prayer is that you’ll be encouraged and challenged with a thread I see running through the last quote, binding it to the one with which I began.  Namely, that our present (and every person and activity in it) is the point at which the time we’ve been given touches eternity.  The only breath we are guaranteed is the one we are taking now.  The only people we are guaranteed are the ones who surround us now.  The only word we speak or hand we offer in love to someone else is the one we offer now.  There is eternity in our now.

If we truly understood and lived that, how would our lives change?  What treasures would we grab to store up?  Who would be the master of our appointment book?  What appointments would be kept, and which would we allow to be interrupted or scratched in favor of what was in front of us right now?  Where would food, shelter and clothing appear on our radar?  And, most importantly, would we put off our decision to follow Jesus, or pursue someone who desperately needs Him?

The Present is the point at which the time we’ve been given touches eternity.  Will you choose to see eternity in your right now?

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Responses

  1. What a great point. Now is all we really have and with Him now is all we will ever need!


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