Have you ever heard the phrase, “You need to stop and smell the roses!” I am sure most of you have heard that at one time or another. This cliché is meant to help remind us that there is a benefit to enjoying and being part of our world as it happens.
I bring this up because of where we find ourselves on the calendar. This is by far one of the busiest times in the life of this church and in most families. For us, we have just finished the Pumpkin Patch and the Block Party. Now we are gearing up for the church wide Thanksgiving Dinner. In a little less than two weeks, we will participate in our annual Charge Conference at First UMC, Ocala. In a little over two weeks, Advent begins, and then Christmas is right around the corner! Can you believe it?!?
I find myself so caught up in preparing for what is next, that it would become incredibly easy for me to totally gloss over the event itself. When an event I have been prepping for arrives, my mind wants to take off to the next event, running the risk of ignoring the moment that is happening right in front of me. Does that happen to you? Do you often miss the forest for the trees? Do you find yourself so caught up in “what's next” that “what's now” totally escapes you? How often do we miss today because we are worried about tomorrow?
Did you know Jesus talked about this? In Matthew 6:34 Jesus tells us, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (NIV). This was part of his Sermon on the Mount as he was teaching the people about the unnecessary energy spent on worrying.
Jesus told the people, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
I believe that Jesus tells us this because he knows that God has built so much beauty and opportunity into each day, that Jesus does not want us to miss it. I believe that God loves us so much, that God does not want us to miss out on what is here, worrying about what might be around the corner. If we first seek God, and spend our time there, then some of the things of tomorrow will no longer be ours to worry about. Now, we have to be mindful of tomorrow. We have to be responsible stewards and plan for the future. But we do not have to let the future plan us.
God is at work everyday, in all sorts of ways. If we allow ourselves to become so worried about tomorrow, then we run the very real risk of missing what God is doing today, of what God wants to do through us, today. So I ask you, “have you stopped to smell the roses today?” God planted them for you. God wants you to enjoy them. You are God's creation and you are loved. I encourage you to take the time to enjoy today, experience today. After all, God made it just for you!
Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!