Sunday morning a group of us went for a walk on the Downs. Fran was considering the squirrels. Lots of them bouncing around gathering nuts for the winter. In the gospel writing Jesus says don’t worry and mentions lilies and sparrows just trusting their loving powerful father in heaven to look after them. But the squirrels – they prepare for winter. So are we meant to trust God and relax, or think ahead and prepare? Probably a sensible balance of the two. There are lots of examples of people in the bible seeing the signs and preparing appropriately. Joseph and the famine. The man buidling a tower, the servant girls and their oil lamps.
Previously I have considered whether we should think about the future, think about the past or be in the present. People who think ahead a lot seem to get anxious, those who dwell in the past get depressed. I tend to think ahead all the time and I had to learn a few years ago how to spend more time in the now -it seems to be healthy for us humans.
As a Christian in the Evangelical tradition there seems to me to be an emphasis on trying to be perfect. This can be a very stressful way of living. I do feel we should sometimes give ourselves some slack. We aren’t perfect and we are not going to be perfect, although it is good to try and improve ourselves at a careful pace.
I read somewhere that when Christians think ahead too much they often do this without adding God into the equation. Also when we remember and have regrets about the past we can forget God’s involvement – his plans and purposes within it all. In the Bible they often remember the past – they celebrate the great actions of God in their peoples history.
So maybe the problem isn’t the thinking back or ahead, but doing this without remembering God’s central part in it all. And maybe that could also be true for the present. Do we wander randomly through the present, or do we live in the now aware of God’s Spirit flowing through lives.