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Living in the Present

We live in an increasingly fast-paced society, in a highly competitive part of the world. This small island, home to nearly 6 million people, has celebrated 58 years of independence, and will see its fourth prime minister this week. While the preceding prime ministers would have had sung two to three different national anthems, Mr. Lawrence Wong was born post-independence, and like many younger Singaporeans, has known only one national anthem: Majulah Singapura.

Life in modern Singapore is full of options and possibilities: the multitude of choices, decisions, and anxieties about the future, only overshadowed by the legacy of our past.

Let’s explore ways and examples from the Bible on why and how to live in the present moment, and the importance of trusting in God’s plan to live life with faith and gratitude.

The Weight of the Past

With the passage of time, we experience life and gain experiences in life. Dwelling on past successes or failures can prevent us from moving forward and embracing new opportunities for growth. You cannot step into the same river twice. Past performances do not equate to future results. John Mark did not fulfill his commitment in Paul and Barnabas’ first missionary journey (Act 15:38) and was deemed unreliable by Paul when planning for the second trip. However, years later, Paul recognized that John Mark had over the years made good progress and had been a valuable resource (2 Timothy 4:11)

The Grip of the Future

The future, with its allure of possibilities and uncertainties, often becomes a source of anxiety and apprehension. We worry about the future, obsessing over hypothetical scenarios and outcomes that may never come to pass. We are reminded of the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:20) of the pursuit of self-sufficiency, and how it creates a false sense of security.

Living in the Present

Assumptions about the past and its constraints can restrict one from fully utilizing the capabilities and potential that God has given us. Likewise, in our pursuit for progress and quest for certainty, we overlook the beauty and potential of the here and now, allowing the future to overshadow our present reality. The future remains shrouded in mystery, and worrying about it robs us of the only moment we truly possess: the present.

The Bible teaches us that each moment is a gift from God, to be cherished and utilized for His glory. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 illustrates the seasons of life, reminding us that there is a time for everything under the heavens; a time to sow and a time to reap, a time to laugh and a time to weep. We are encouraged to embrace the uniqueness of each moment, recognizing that every season serves a purpose in God's plan.

Jesus, in His sermon on the mount, teaches us not to worry about tomorrow, for each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:25-34). This challenges us to release the burdens of anxiety and surrender to God's plan. By entrusting our worries to Him, we free ourselves to fully engage with the present moment.

Gratitude reminds us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). When we cultivate a heart of gratitude, we become attuned to the blessings that surround us in the here and now. Instead of dwelling on what we had and lost, and longing for the future, we learn to appreciate the beauty and abundance present in each moment, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.

We are reminded that our time on this mortal plane is a mist that appears for a while and vanishes. In Ecclesiastes 9:10, we read that “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Let us seize the opportunities and engage wholehearted effort in all our endeavors, for tomorrow is a gift not a promise - carpe diem.


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