I had a children’s jingle float through my mind recently, but I couldn’t quite remember its source. It says in part, “Today is my favorite day, God made me in a special way.” Now, if that is one of your favorites and I have some of the words wrong, please don’t be upset; I have a lot of music in my sound track.
There are at least two great messages in the simple chorus, and while we could spend several articles on both of the subjects I need to quickly acknowledge one before I start on the other. The chorus says we are made “in a special way.” There are several places where our uniqueness is described in scripture, but one of my favorites is part of a song written by King David: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14 NIV).
The other point is about “today” and the importance of that simple word, particularly on days that don’t really feel like it’s a favorite one. In fact, I would suggest putting perspective on today is perhaps one of the most significant keys to actually living a full life. Nearly one half of the verses in the New Testament where today is recorded it was spoken by Jesus. The first use in the New Testament is by Him and it appears important. When the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him to teach them to pray, He gave them an outline that we often refer to as the Lord’s Prayer. While many are possibly somewhat familiar with the prayer I want to refer to a specific verse: “Give us today our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11 NIV). You will notice the focus of the request is for today’s bread, today’s needs. I don’t think you can assume from this that Jesus was opposed to meal planning, but I will submit to you it underscores the importance of living in the moment. In fact later in the same chapter Jesus reinforces that whole idea when He says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25 NIV).
If you will consider that word “worry” for a moment, Jesus says don’t do it. A quick fun fact for you: the word worry is only translated twelve times in the New Testament and each time it is spoken by Jesus; and I can tell you He was not a fan. In fact, later in the same chapter He expands the idea: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34 NIV).
If we are not to be concerned about what might happen it makes even less sense to concern ourself with what has happened since you can’t fix the past. Or as the great philosopher Eeyore said so well, “Keep your tail behind you.” Taking your focus off tomorrow and yesterday is the best way to make “today” your favorite day.
Bill Upton is chaplain of the Tooele City Police Department.