The day after my little girl’s birthday, we took her to a Purina dog show to celebrate (among other things). The emcee of the show announced that he would give away a Frisbee to a child with a birthday. I wanted to raise my hand to let him know of my daughter’s, but he followed this by saying, “The birthday can’t be yesterday, not tomorrow, but today.”
My little girl did not understand these details—all she knew was that we were celebrating her birthday today. She stood in her seat and began to wave to him to let him know she qualified.
The emcee walked down to her, with the mike in his hand, to give her the Frisbee. He looked at me and said, “Is her birthday today?”
I would not lie. I explained that we were celebrating it today, but really it was the day before.
He shook his head and said into the mike for the benefit of the hundreds of people in the audience, “C’mon dad, not yesterday, not tomorrow, but today!”
Now, I will agree with you that this guy was a cruel insensitive jerk with no regard for a child’s feelings. Regardless of his amplified Small Man Syndrome, he is right. We should live today.
Danger: do not live in the past
Job had to come to grips with his situation as it lay before him. He could live in the past memories of how good life had been for him before he got knocked to the ground. In fact, he wanted to go so far back into his past as to erase the evidence of his existence.
People waste today, hour by hour, living in the daydreams of what has been. The divorced man lives a futile day-by-day existence doing little to better himself or the world because he cannot get over how stupid he was to let his home break up. The ex-convict can waste each present moment by living in the cloud of past sins. Men need to wake up and live today.
Warning: you cannot live tomorrow
Job could not live in the future because he did not know if he had one. Some people waste their present by living in fear of the future. Most of what you worry about will never happen. The part that will happen is nothing you can change by worrying about it right now anyway.
Men pine away doing nothing, waiting for their social security income to come so they can live for a few days. Find a way to make today count, then the future will have meaning and the past will be justified.
Notice: the present should not obscure past or future
You should not live right now to the neglect of your future. You need to plan ahead, invest, give, and manage things with the future in view. You need to consider the past when making decisions right now including how you vote, where you live, and what you do about your health.
Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (Ephesians 5:14-18)
So live. Live right now and make it meaningful. Experience joy. Deal with your sorrow. Do not depend on products and entertainment to distract you from reality. Live reality. Be the happiest, healthiest, most productive person you can be. In the future, you will be glad you made your past count by what you are doing with your present. Start right now.