I had already sorted out what I was having for lunch, I'd assessed the hairstyle of every person sitting in front of me and I was about to pick up a pen to write my 'to-do' list for the next week.
Reference: v.5 "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce." (NIV Bible)
Explore: Anywhere would have been better than being here. The church service had dragged on forever and the sermon had not even started! I had already sorted out what I was having for lunch, I'd assessed the hairstyle of every person sitting in front of me and I was about to pick up a pen to write my 'to-do' list for the next week. Have you ever been in a situation like that? Or maybe the question should be, 'How many times have you been in a situation like that?' Church services are supposed to be a time of worship and honour to God and yet sometimes we can find ourselves in the wrong frame of mind, or presented with information that does not assist us personally, to engage with God. At these times, before I pick up my pen and start writing out my goals for the next seven days, it is best if I pause and ask myself, "Am I being in the present?" It's almost too easy for me to be thinking ahead to the next activity but often I need to catch myself and challenge myself to just BE in the current situation. If the information being presented to me is not connecting with me personally then I can use that time to reflect on God in my own way. What a great chance to look back through the week and see what God has been doing and how He has been moulding me through the different experiences. What a great time to spend in prayer, communicating with God about worries and desires. We are often too quick to move on to the next thing without really stopping and truly being present in our current activity. We had already put that time aside to supposedly connect with God. Why not do just that?
Application: The people of Judah had been forced to leave their home town of Jerusalem and were now exiled in Babylon. I can only imagine that all they wanted to do was go back to their homeland or to be any where other than Babylon. But God sends them a message through Jeremiah telling them to set up life where they are. Ultimately God was telling them to truly BE present in their current situation. They weren't to dream of something different but to set up life where they were. It's not like they needed to be in paradise to connect with God but even in exile they could receive blessings from Him. We may not have been exiled to a foreign land, however no matter where we are we can focus our minds on connecting with God. We are often too quick to move on to the next activity or start preparing for the next big thing. But it's important for us to just BE in a moment. If we are truly present in a situation we are allowing ourselves to reflect more on where God is present and how we can connect to Him.
Prayer: Lord, forgive us for rushing through life. Time can be our greatest frustration and yet we believe that you already have plans for our future (v29). May we trust You with our time and be willing to truly BE present in every moment. Amen.
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.