Lost in a Dream Come True

The old Yiddish proverb translates as “Man plans, God laughs.”  Equally old is the statement by the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, “Live not one’s life as though one had a thousand years, but live each day as the last.”  So, should we live life completely in the moment with no thought for the future?  After all, God does say, So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.  (Matthew 6:34)



I have a friend who is a great guy who loves his family.  But he’s constantly working at his job.  He has a flexible starting time, but he almost always works late into the evening.  He rarely sees any of his family, except on weekends.  And on many of those, he wants to be able to relax or concentrate on his special hobby.  He is so concerned with the day-to-day need to earn enough money  to take care of his family financially, that he’s missing the whole point of having a family.  This is not unusual, even among today’s Christians.  Yet the Bible warns us of the rich fool who kept working and planning for his eventual financial goal of retiring and taking it easy.  The result?  God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?” (Luke 12:20)

Many workers are now even working during the time the are allotted for vacation.  According to a study by the online career site, Glassdoor, the average U.S. employee used only half of his or her eligible time off in the past year.  Overall, 40 percent of those surveyed took less than a quarter of the vacation time they had coming to them. The research shows that just 25 percent of workers use all of their eligible time off.  Even those who do take some vacation days have trouble truly getting away from the office. More than 60 percent of the employees who took paid time off in the past 12 months admit doing at least some work while on vacation.

So why are today’s workers so concerned with today or only as far as the next paycheck instead of thinking about the future–whether it’s tomorrow or retirement or forever?  It’s work, work, work. Day after day after day.  Too many of us have turned our jobs and our money-making capability into who we are.  Our job and success at that job defines who we are.  We forget that no one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24)

It’s really simple.  Why kill ourselves (sometimes literally) trying to make a living in a way that diminishes our family relationships and our connection to God?  All we have to do is seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  (Matthew 6:33)  Decide to put Him first in your life.  Do what He intends for you to do.  Get lost in His love.  Plan for eternity with Him, but live each day as if it were your last.  Some day it will be.  And in His presence, you will be lost in that eternal dream come true.

What Goes Around Comes Around

I wonder sometimes if our new generations have the same kind of friends that I had as I was growing up.  It sometimes seems as if our “do everything online via phone or tablet” generation is missing out on actually being with and talking to real friends.  I know many parents who are concerned about who their children want to befriend.  Based on what some “friends” post online about others (and even what some post about themselves), I’m not sure how many even understand what a friend is. There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).  I think that the simplest instruction for being friendly is simply, Do to others as you would like them to do to you (Luke 6:31).  It’s hard to go wrong with that. 

How do we manage to mistreat the people in our lives?  Often it because we are so wrapped up in ourselves or our own little corner of the world that we just don’t see others as a part of our lives.  We should be “friends” to everyone we meet–especially the members of our family.  That means accepting all the quirks and imperfections that we see in them.  If we’re honest with ourselves, each of us have at least as many of the irritating peculiarities as those around us.  Despite all of that, we are to love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other Romans 12:10). 

Sometimes, because we are so familiar with them, we treat those closest to us worse that we would ever treat a total strangerParents toward their children and children toward their parents can often forget the following instructions from Paul:  Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.  Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:29-32).  While parents and kids know how to “push each other’s buttons,” each should remember the words Jesus spoke when telling His disciples how to pray.  And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation (Luke 11:4).  Because there are definitely days when the temptation is there to scream and shout and sometimes worse.

Remember this: This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends (John 15:12-13).  If you always remember this, then you will understand what C.S. Lewis once said.  Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.  He also said,Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?  The same could (and should) be said about our family as well.