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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Beginning and End (04/16/09)

TITLE: Present Neglect
By John Elliott


There are three major themes of television viewing in my home – history, mystery and watching people being silly. Of those three, history is my favorite. The enduring success of television shows like the Antiques Roadshow, This Old House and cable channels like The History Channel, focus our minds on our past. Understanding the past, whether it is personal or collective in nature, is beneficial in aiding the understanding of both culture and the lessons contained in history.

Of course, for every television show that focuses on the beginning of our planet’s history, a show focusing on the possible ending of our planet is also available. The possibilities for ending our existence seem to be endless. Whether it is a meteor, super volcano, a supernova sun, nuclear war or global warming, our destruction appears imminent. Most shows even relegate the second coming of Jesus Christ to doom and despair. Sadly, for some, that will be the case.

I have to admit that as I age, I am more interested in my ancestry. The trials of my life and the increasing knowledge of my ancestry gives rise to a greater appreciation of what my ancestors endured in order to survive and prosper. It is prudent that we understand our past and care about our future. It is part of the role of a good steward.

Part of our collective history, contained in The Old Testament of The Holy Bible exists to show us our fall from perfection, our need for a savior and God’s active plan (shown to us through the history of the Jewish nation) to care for our daily needs and send His own Son to save us from ourselves. The New Testament of The Holy Bible exists to testify to the fact that God brought His plan to fruition and gives us the knowledge that our future is secure. With our beginning known and our end secure, what lies in-between is today – the present. So why is the present so important?

“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17 NIV). Faith and action for the Father’s mission are inseparable. Since they are inseparable, we who believe must also act. We cannot act yesterday for that is history. We cannot act tomorrow for that is just a plan. Today, in the present, we can act for His glory. Do not neglect the present for it is only now that we can go about our Father’s business. Today, we can share our knowledge of our past and our future. Today, we can take the time to pray, repent, forgive, feed the poor, clothe the naked, visit those in prison and (in summary) love one another. These good deeds that witness to our faith in Christ Jesus only work in the present.

How comforting it is to know that no matter what we encounter in life, Jesus is there to hold us safely in His love. Should unforeseen disaster overtake us, who cares? Our beginning is past and our future end is certain. So for today, let us be intentional in our service to one another, the rest is cared for in Christ Jesus.

(This piece is a devotional for my benefit, for I needed to hear it. If you received something out of it, praise the Lord!)

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 04/26/09
I really like the voice of this. It felt very comfortable and conversational. And, of course, a great message I (also!) needed to hear.
Jae Blakney04/28/09
I like the balance in this piece. It's easy to forget the value of learning from the past and preparing for the future as we try to stop moping and worrying and live in the present. I think this was well-put, sound advice.