“If we are to better the future we must disturb the present.”
Catherine Booth (1829-1890)
Our sister in the Lord, Catherine Booth, was the wife and ministry partner of William Booth. As he formed the Salvation Army, she played a very influential role – so much so that she was known as the “Army Mother”. She shared her husband’s passion to care for the needy and share the gospel with people of every kind.
Her words, quoted above, are a simple but profoundly crucial reminder for every disciple of Jesus that we must choose. We simply cannot have it all, despite what the commercials all around us may tell us. Among the many choices we must make is the choice between the temporal and the eternal – the now and the later.
Here’s an important struggle for us to face together, Disciple: will our hearts and minds be devoted to things that bring us short-term and immediate pleasure, or will we be like our Master and work in the present with our eyes fixed on the joy and glory to come? This is not about checking out of the real world and living with our heads in the clouds. This is not about losing a grip on what’s happening around us so that we can just dream about “the sweet by and by”. No, this is one of the most fundamental shifts in thinking that our Master has invited us to experience: living full life now rather than a mere shadow of life.
When our minds and hearts are captured by what’s immediately in front of us, we cannot experience the Kingdom life we’re created for. We’ll always choose the lesser and forsake the greater. For instance, why get up for school or work today when the bed is so warm and comfortable? Why stop at one bowl of ice cream when the whole carton is looking pretty darn yummy right now? The ability to think through the long-term effects of our choices is foundational to being a mature human being. How much more so when it comes to things of eternity!
So will I give my money to generously meet the needs of others (knowing that my Father will gladly reward me with eternal blessing), or will I buy more things that will only satisfy me for a short time? Will I boldly act and speak in Jesus’ name in the face of possible persecution (knowing that my Father will gladly reward me with eternal blessing), or will I play it safe and avoid awkwardness and discomfort in this moment? Will I spend my free time in prayer, absorbing the Word, and building godly relationships with other disciples, or will I binge watch another show on Netflix? These are real choices we’re making every day, and the life and teachings of our Master beckon us to consider these choices very carefully in the light of His eternal Kingdom.
Our choices are so important because they will determine so much! I’m grateful that sister Catherine had the wisdom to remind us that by God’s grace, we can actually choose a better future if we’re courageous and faith-filled enough to welcome some disturbance into our present.
Learning to choose what lasts with you,