Our Daily Walk – by Ed Dunn

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. (Matthew 6:34, The Message Bible)

There’s an old tale of two priests who went for a long daily walk in the woods just after a prolonged and stormy downpour. As they walked and meditated along their way, they came upon a small river that not long before had been a shallow stream. As they did, a young woman from the neighboring village dressed in fine clothing stood by the rain-soaked, muddy bank trying to see how she might get across. Without a word, the older and wiser of the two priests picked up the young woman and carried her carefully across the watery deluge. Upon reaching the far side safely, the priest then put the young woman down and the two priests continued silently on their way.

Several hours later, the younger of the two priests suddenly broke the silence with an angry question: Why did you pick up and carry that young woman across the river? he asked, with a tone of condemnation. You know we priests are not supposed to do such things!

Upon hearing the younger priest’s question, and the accusation within, the older and wiser priest thought for a moment before responding. I put the young woman down hours ago, he replied simply. Why are you still carrying her?

We all do our fair share of carrying on our daily walk, don’t we? We all can get worked up over many things from time to time. We may not carry a person, as in the tale just told, but we can carry plenty of fears, doubts and worries in our hearts and minds. Along with those fears, doubts and worries, we can carry a preoccupation with the past or with the future. This sort of carrying is common to us all and can happen more than we care to admit. We’re human.

The words of Jesus as recorded in the gospel of Matthew break our daily walk, and where our hearts and minds are best focused, into a manageable increment of time. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, Jesus says. Right now is the only place, the only time, in which we can truly live. We can be mindful of our future and of our past, but Jesus reminds us that it is best not to be preoccupied with either. So many of the fears, doubts and worries we carry find their beginnings in these preoccupations. So much of what we get worked up about, or carry with us on our daily walk, has little to do with the right now.

We all try to live the fullest lives we can, to the best of our abilities, right now. Our work, if we work in the traditional sense, or whatever we put our hand to do one day at a time – spending time with family and friends, or the pursuit of hobbies, interests and pastimes – all serve to help us find purpose as well as joy on our daily walk. But we know our daily walk can be full of far more than things that bring us purpose and joy. Challenges and difficulties are as much a part of our lives as the people and pastimes we love. Jesus reminds us to trust that God will give us what we need in the moment we need it: God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

That encouraging reminder creates a space around whatever challenges and difficulties we may face. That joyous truth, that of God’s gracious help, leads us through the prolonged and rainy downpours of our lives. As Christ-followers, we walk with Jesus one day at a time. As we do, we keep our entire attention on the sure knowledge that we are in Christ Jesus, and Christ Jesus is alive in us, helping us. That precious thought, by the grace of God, fuels everything we do. That cherished reminder, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, feeds our purpose and our joy.

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