When we are little, we want to be big. As children we wanted to imitate our parents, carry Daddy’s briefcase, crunch numbers on the ten-key or step into Mommy’s heals adorned in her finest costume jewelry. And if you were anything like me, click away on the adding machine with a fresh pair of bright red Lee Press-On Nails to boot! Although the briefcase dragged the floor and my feet filled generously only a third of the shoe, I delighted in the imaginary of being grown up. I craved to leapfrog over the natural progression of time, successfully landing at the top.
Ahh, to be grown up, I thought. To have responsibilities, schedules to keep, places to be and important plans to pursue. I wanted to be used. I wanted to be needed. I wanted to be significant.
Let us imagine for a moment that you want to be an astrophysicist. Your hearts’ desire is to study the stars, immersing yourself in the exploration of the vast expanses beyond the visible sky. As early as kindergarten you were compelled with passion for the great unknown.
With two blocks in hand, one in each hand you were taught basic arithmetic. The teacher holding up her props in front of the class saying, “Children, I have one block in my right hand, and one in my left hand. How many blocks do I have?”
Eagerly the children waved their hands in the air, “Teacher, pick me, pick me. I know how many blocks you have!” Unable to hold it in you shout, “Two! You have two blocks!”
“Indeed, I do.” The teacher said smiling with encouragement.
A lover of math, you regularly shared your aspirations with the class. Touting boldly, you announced, “I’m ready now! I can explore all there is beyond the seen heavens! I will discover new things about physics and the galaxies beyond and I’ll do it right now!”
We can view this example as silly, an obvious over commitment – obvious to the most elementary of thinkers. Anyone would point out that you will need many years of mathematics to perform the duties of your stargazing role.
It is good that you like math and enjoy simple addition and subtraction. But you do not yet understand multiplication. Division? Not until you grasp how to multiply can you divide, much less begin to understand fractions and percentages. Once those skills become basic, you are now ready to begin beginner’s algebra, then geometry, trigonometry, complex variables, calculus, and differential equations.
How often in life do we seek to jump to the end? To the applause, the fancy title, the big desk, the impressive portfolio – all the while forgetting it requires incremental achievement to master the basics before arriving at the feat of exploration begetting the triumphant invention which revolutionizes mankind’s living. The small, slow, often repetitive steps leading way to the pinnacle moments in your life are required to build upon the previous.
We forget we cannot jump to the top rung of the ladder from the ground. We must take one climb at a time, letting go of the previous to reach for the next.
Our walk with the Lord is like this. We seek to be assigned our scene-stealing spotlight performance while still learning our lines. We desire the steak when we are still suckling the milk.
God calls us to be present today, glean from now. Plan for tomorrow, yes. But today is the day we were called to live, for tomorrow will hold its own challenges. We must prepare for tomorrow by being present in today. For when now is gone, it will be yesterday, and the lesson will have been missed.
When we overlook the present, peering over its head towards what is yet to come, we miss the beauty in today’s gifts. Our current circumstances are building our strength, stamina and knowledge for the tasks that lay ahead. We would be no more capable to accomplish the greatness God has awaiting us in His big unimaginable plans yet to come than a kindergartener is capable to apply himself to quantum physics.
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:13-14
Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4
Give today your best so that your endurance will produce its complete work, maturing you, lacking nothing ready for your beautiful assignments ahead!