day 127: Now

We just finished the first quarter of the year and started the second. And for sure already in boardrooms and offices across the country companies are making their projections for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th quarters and for the full year. This is how business works. We don’t live in the present. We are always planning and forecasting the future. The future can be exciting and become consuming and we want to get there as fast as we can. Sometimes the future can be bleak and full of expected trouble and we know we have to go there but we go with worry and trepidation. The future can get in the way of living for the present and enjoying and working with the life that we have been given. In C.S. Lewis’ classic book, “The Screwtape Letters”, the devils’ undersecretary named Screwtape explains to his agent and nephew named Wormwood that God doesn’t want us to work and live in the future if it is going to get in the way of glorifying God in the present. Read along as two devils correspond on what we as humans shouldn’t do: “To be sure the Enemy (God) wants men to think of the Future too – just so much as is necessary for now planning the acts of justice or charity which will probably be their duty tomorrow. The duty of planning the morrow’s work is today’s duty; though its material is borrowed from the future, the duty, like all duties, is in the Present. This is now straw splitting. He (God) does not want men to give the Future their hearts, to place their treasures in it. We (the devil) do (does). His (God’s) ideal is a man, who having worked all day for the good of posterity (if that is his vocation), washes his mind of the whole subject, commits the issue to Heaven, and returns at once to the patience or gratitude demanded in the moment that is passing over him. But we (the devil) want a man hag-ridden by the Future…we want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow’s end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the future every real gift which is offered them in the Present”. We are told in Proverbs that the plans that we have for our future are not in our hands anyway; “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” As we plan our future business and our jobs, we should remind ourselves that the earthly future that overtakes our ability to focus, live and be who are to be in the present is not the future we should be pursuing.

Reference: Proverbs 16:9 (New Living Testament), C.S. Lewis: “The Screwtape Letters”