Friday, April 13, 2018

There's No Present like the Time

The title is a quote from The Second Best Marigold Hotel, a movie with an incredible cast. It features older actors who are trying to find a sense of their lives in a well-worn Indian hotel. The hotel manager is an East Indian with a flare for the dramatic in his desire to build up the hotel. He is speaking to investors about partnering with him. The idiom, “there is no time like the present” takes a fascinating twist to “There’s no present like the time.” The investors seem interested and send an incognito surveyor to check out the place, Richard Gere.

Near the end when Maggie Smith who is the irascible widow is sensing the end of the line the lead potential investor shows up in India as the hotel saying, I came to pay my respects. There's nothing I respect more than someone planting trees under whose shade they may never sit.” 

Taking these two quotes together it seems one of the themes is making the most of your time in the present moment. This is also the theme of the now best-selling devotional book, Jesus Calling, Enjoying Peace in His Presence. The author, Sarah Young, is speaking about finding peace with God in the present moment. This is a theological truth that God is timeless, but we can only find Him in the present moment. The Serenity Prayer, on which I have written also says, “to live life one moment at a time, enjoying every moment.” Why, because God is in the moment. In 1 Kings 19 is the story of Elijah the Prophet experiencing God, not in the powerful wind, earthquake or fire. No, God showed up in the “gentle whisper” or “still small voice.” The prophet heard God, but I believe you and I do not always hear God. We often are stuck in the past or pressing on to the future where God is not present.

“Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience” (Psychology Today).  My healthcare employer as required training recently presented this concept for all employees. Why so important? Because we are so easily distracted in this world. Thomas Hardy’s novel “Far from The Madding Crowd” gives us much to think about man and nature and how we misquote the Bible for our own advantage.

The instinctive act of human-kind was to stand, and listen, and learn how the trees on the right and the trees on the left wailed or chanted to each other in the regular antiphonies of a cathedral choir.” Using personification the reader can find allusions of how mankind talks at each other to gain position over another. This is one of the main themes of life, taking advantage of situations and people. This is sadly human nature.

Speaking now of time, it is endless; we are not. Constantly we are trying to control time. We can’t control anything, only God.

“There is no such thing as an ending, just a place were you leave the story. And is your story now.” (Quote from Second Best Marigold Hotel). Is it time for you to step out, look within, access God and find out about your life?

“If not now, when? If not us, who?” (Quote from Second Best Marigold Hotel). Many attribute this quote to Ronald Reagan. But Hillel the Elder, a Talmudic scholar in 100 B.C, first spoke it.  It is really as expression of the Golden Rule and reciprocity. Now may be the time, but first ask God.
“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that(James 4:13-15).

Now may be the time to act but trust in God to lead your path and not your own thoughts or ways as Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us. “Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come(Mark 13:33). Jesus is speaking to us about being ready always for we do not know the time when He will return. The most important thing we can do now choose Him as Savior and Lord. Without that decision for salvation, all is lost to hell.  

“There’s no time like the present.”

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