You know those letters in the mail...they have your name and address refreshingly hand written with real pen ink on them? They are bit squarer and far more rigid than your standard printed letter. They have an actual coloured postage stamp on it. You bring in the mail and carelessly throw all the other rectangle printed ones on the kitchen bench, and while still standing tear open the hand written square one first.
Why? cause you know its personal and it's probably an invitation. There is an instant bond of some description created from an official invitation. It doesn't matter the relationship, it says 'your being here is important to me' or 'your presence is valuable and I would prefer to share the moment with you'
Invitations are simply a request for your presence in sharing a particular moment.
Although there's some new age stigma attached to "becoming present" or "conscious" or "live in the moment" I think to define, it really means, to be emotionally and spiritually present, aware of what's before you. To be aware and conscious of your surrounds. For the sake of the article, I'll use the word "presence" to describe a full attentive present state.
The fingertip revolution (as I call it) has really developed our ability to be somewhere physically and have minimal engagement on any other level. We can access not just information on phones but people's lives in real time, run businesses, turn lights off, pay bills etc...you get my drift. I don't want to get all negative Nancy on technology (sorry to any Nancy's out there) because I love it, it's brilliant, I'm editing this doc right now on my phone.
However, I must propose the question...Is having access to the world at your fingertips creating a fragmented focus? Is it eroding our ability to be present and engaged for any meaningful length of time. Can it rob us from a moment that God has invited our presence to?
Recently I sat at little local Japanese restaurant on the Gold Coast to catch up with some guys. I was facing into the restaurant against a wall in a long narrow section. So I was directly facing another table. There was a buzz of casual talk that was escalating in volume. While all the merriness of the place was loud, it was great social environment. A young couple came in and sat right across from me (to me they were side on so if you can picture I'm looking at the side of their faces). I noticed that when they sat down facing each other they didn't look at each other... or say anything... at all! Just went straight into scrolling. So I wanted to observe how it would go
They ordered with their heads down focussed. Scroll stop... scroll scroll stop. They ate in same position, then they left. The entire time not a word was spoken to each other. I'm not the judge of any relationship, but I'm using as an example of how disconnected we can become from our present surroundings.
The future and the past are two places you can't physically be...
A lot of our instruction in the Word of God really stacks up into living full in the present. The future becomes an idol when we are either worried about it, or striving to make sure it's going to be how we want it. It's like a subtle form of idolising yourself. This time zone that doesn't yet exist can steal the moments you do have.
The past is unchangeable, yet the feelings surrounding the past are. If we are angry, bitter or upset at someone because of something gone by then we are stuck in another time zone that isn't here. Our only answer to that is the life and love of the present God to bring us back to life in the now.
Paul says it to a young and possibly ambitious Timothy.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy chapter 6 verse 6
The times we run to gain something for the future could be because of a lack of contentment. Paradoxically, this unchangeable word says that contentment with godliness is the key to great gain. By the time we exhausted ourselves to find the gain we were stretching for... our moment has passed. And life can pass by without you living in it.
God himself, the author of all beauty, life and all mysteries, who created all things for us to richly enjoy is sending out invitations to you! The unseen love and beauty, the eternal lover of your soul is sending personal invitations with your name on them.
By his spirit he sends them and he desires your presence, your entire 100% present state. It's so valuable to him for you to commune and delight in him. What if all day long God was looking for your presence in moments he's ordained for you to soak up, to embrace and to be the gift you are, either to Him or to those around you? What if life was one big divine invitation to live with a very present Immanuel, God with us?
I pray you find more and more of the billions of hand written invitations to grace, life and adventure with God, who cordially requests your presence.
Leigh Clough lives on the Gold Coast. He loves to catch a wave, build business, dream big and preach the gospel.