Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
June 22, 2008
Live one day at a time because you have no other choice
Some days I catch myself singing the song that begins “One day at a time sweet Jesus, that’s all I’m asking from you.” The simple tune is easy to remember. Singing the song is really a way of praying for the song is actually a prayer, and one worth praying daily.
To ask Jesus for “one day at a time” is like saying, “Lord, life is so hard that I can handle only one day at a time. So please “just give me the strength to do everyday what I have to do.” To make that request of Jesus is to admit that without divine assistance there is no way I can make it through the night, or through the day.
I like the song, what it says and how it feels in my soul. But I realize that one day at a time is all any of us will ever get. Singing that song will not change the reality that life comes at us one day at a time. Each new day is a gift and we must decide how to use it morning by morning.
The song acknowledges that yesterday is gone, “and tomorrow may never be mine.” The mature person soon realizes that there is no way to change the past. To fret about past mistakes is to waste energy that could be applied to today’s opportunities. We can learn from our mistakes but we simply cannot live in the past.
Tomorrow is also beyond our grasp. To daydream about what we might do tomorrow is to fail to make the most of today. If we are to live well we must realize that today is all we have and we must make the most of it before the sun goes down.
Defeats and failures can wound our ego. They can also rob us of our willingness to make the most of each new day. Depression and discouragement can cause us to sit and stare. Uncaring staring allows self-pity to sap our energy and enthusiasm. But while we sit and stare time does not stop to wait on us. The clock keeps ticking. Sunset follows sunrise. Life goes on.
At the end of the day, the only question that matters is, “Have I lived this day to the fullest or have I let it slip away?” A day that is lost is a day that can never be regained. Once lost, it is gone forever. When that happens, we can only resolve to “sleep it off” and rise the next morning to live that day to the fullest.
A chest freezer taught me a great lesson. We had one for many years in our garage. One day I realized that we were making little use of it. We kept a bag of ice in sometimes, or a loaf of bread. Finally I had to admit that to keep that freezer running was a waste of money. My wife agreed and we gave it away.
Storing food may be done wisely of course. Many people make good use of a freezer. I have no quarrel with that. But the truth is, all we really need is food for today. If tomorrow never comes, what good will it do to have a freezer full of food? Perhaps that is why Jesus said when we pray we should say, “Give us this day our daily bread.” We need have more faith in God’s power to provide daily bread than in a freezer we have provided for ourselves.
While we have no choice but to live one day at time, we do have a choice about the attitude we may embrace each new dawn. We can live with passion and compassion, joy and enthusiasm. We can dismiss our regrets about yesterday. We can refuse to waste time daydreaming about tomorrow.
We can live today to the fullest, thankful for every precious hour, and squeeze it like an orange until there is not a drop of joy left in it. + + +