Looking Beyond Today
By: Kristen L. McNulty
Living in the Canadian North, I've become accustomed to the reality of having tons of snow in the winter and it usually only melting by the end of April if we're lucky. That's just the way life is up here and while I wouldn't trade it for anything, this winter was a different story.
I was in Chicago at the beginning of March and within days of arriving home, our snow was gone. This kind of weather was unheard of for us, but myself and most people up here didn't give it a second thought. We were so happy to have an early spring that we didn't think ahead to what the downside might be.
That is no longer the case.
Over the past couple of weeks as wildfires have threatened homes and cottages and burned thousands of hectares of beautiful forest, we've seen the consequence of having a spring where the snow left and no rain replaced it. The ground got so dry that all it took was a spark to spread flames far and wide and do so at a frightening pace.
Isn't it so easy to enjoy the moment and not even give one thought to the consequence?
We do that a lot, don't we? Not only in broad ways like in how we view the weather. But in very specific ways in how we live our lives. We are quick to enjoy getting away with things at the moment, but aren't wise enough to see where the path we're walking on is leading us.
We give ourselves a pat on the back when our boss buys our excuse for why we were late today. But we don't see where this pattern of lateness or dishonesty will lead us in a few months from now when the boss has seen right through us and has ten people lining up, ready to take our jobs.
We get a little thrill when we watch things we have no business watching on TV or the internet and we shrug off the consequences, thinking no one will ever know. While that may be true, we fail to think about the fallout that the forbidden has on our hearts, our lives, and our relationships. If we looked ahead to see the chaos we were inviting into our lives from those so called secret moments, I don't think we would be so quick to flip the channel or open the browser.
In his book The Principle of the Path, a book I highly recommend by the way, Andy Stanley writes:
"Prudent people look as far down the road as possible when making decisions. Every decision. After all, they understand that today and tomorrow are connected." (p. 39)
That is so true. Our decisions aren't sealed in some sort of box where they occur, but are sealed in to only affect what happens inside that box. No, our decisions are like bombs that are set off that send shrapnel flying all around us. The good decisions, like investing in our relationships or growing in our faith or living a life of integrity send life-giving water to everyone and everything around us. Whereas the bad decisions like cheating or lying or living a double life or being stuck on spiritual cruise control are like sharp shrapnel that can tear down and harm all kinds of things around us from our relationships to our jobs to our ministries to even our witness to other people. As Proverbs 13:20 says "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm."
That said, we're all left with a choice. A choice we have to make every time we're faced with a decision. Are we going to see this decision as something insignificant or are we going to look down the road and see where this seemingly small choice is going to lead us in a week, a month or even a year from now.
Allow me to close with some more wisdom from Proverbs, found in chapter four verses 25 and 26:
"Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; then stick to the path and stay safe. Don't get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil." (Proverbs 4:25-26)
Reprint rights available on request. Email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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