In The Good and Beautiful Life, James Bryan Smith reminds us that the Kingdom of God “operates only in the present moment. We can only live in the kingdom today. . . So worrying about tomorrow is a useless distraction. Just as we count on God today, we can count on him tomorrow. But we aren’t in tomorrow and never will be; we live only in the present, in today.”
Just as we aren’t in tomorrow, we aren’t in yesterday, either. Yesterday is past, gone; we can’t have a “do-over.” When we live in our yesterdays, we aren’t living in the kingdom either.
Have you seen the TV commercial for a financial planning company that unrolls a green carpet for its clients as they walk out of the office? The idea is that if the clients follow that narrow strip of carpet and ignore the financial pitfalls along the way, they will reach their financial goals and dreams.
Perhaps we need to create an imaginary “kingdom carpet” to keep us in the present moment. If we find ourselves drifting off that strip of carpet into tomorrow or yesterday, we will know we are leaving the Kingdom of God and risking the peace and serenity which can be ours when we walk with God in the present.
Twelve-step programs such as AA and Al-Anon advise their members to live “one day at a time!” For Christians the slogan must be “Live one moment at a time” and trust God to deal with the pain and regrets of the past and the challenges of the future. Let’s make a pact as apprentices to warn each other to get back on the “kingdom carpet” when we dabble in the future or drag up the past.