Encouragement for Thursday

Recently I read an article discussing our fascination with New Year’s day. It contained a quote I don’t remember reading before:

“I wish for those I love this New Year an opportunity to earn sufficient, to have that which they need for their own and to give that which they desire to others, to bring in to the lives of those about them some measure of joy, to know the satisfaction of work well done, of recreation earned and therefore savored, to end the year a little wiser, a little kinder and therefore a little happier.” (Eleanor Roosevelt, in a column from “My Day” on January 1, 1937)

I wonder how acquainted she was with The Scripture because her thoughts parallel Biblical teachings. Ecclesiastes came to my mind immediately:

“This is what I observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20)

Intertwined in her words is the message of Jesus in Matthew 7:9-12:

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

I think sometimes I miss the gifts of God in my present because I am either dwelling in my past or yearning for my future. I am reminded of a quote by Allen Saunders (often incorrectly attributed to John Lennon, who later used it in a song): “Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.” Sometimes our past offers motivation—we either want to repeat something that worked well for us, or change something that didn’t. Our future, especially as believers, means an eternal future in God’s presence. It is hard to not look forward to that. Our present is our life. Every day we live for God’s glory, learning and maturing a little bit each day along the way. That development shows that we belong to Christ, and that the Spirit lives in us. The development and display of who we belong to serves to reach others for Christ whether we realize it or not. Every day matters. When Christ returns, all of our days will help prepare us to meet Him as mature servants.

Lord, help us to receive comfort and strength from remembering our past. Help us to receive comfort and strength from looking to our future, knowing that our eternity lies with You. Let that comfort and strength serve us each day in our present, so that we can be your agents here on Earth, letting the world see You. Amen!

Take heart and be encouraged!

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