"Please say good morning, sweetie," I reminded her.
"Good morning," she eventually growled.
We soon found ourselves in the church restroom for a conversation about her attitude.
"I'm having a yucky heart this morning, mommy," she confessed.
"I don't want to be joyful right now. Maybe I'll say hi to them tomorrow instead."
I stifled a laugh, and explained that she wouldn't get the chance tomorrow.
"We don't go to church on Mondays, sweetheart. You can't wait until tomorrow. Today is your only chance."
Although her childish reasoning often amuses me, I often think the same way.
I often live like tomorrow is a promise. I put off things, reassuring myself that I will "do them tomorrow," or break that habit tomorrow, or start eating better tomorrow, or get into the Word tomorrow, or reach out to my neighbor tomorrow.
But God has not given us tomorrow. And in reality, not only is it unreasonable to think that way, it's prideful.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
James 4:13-14 (ESV)
Certainly this passage targets those who arrogantly make and trust in their own plans, giving no thought to the God who ordains each of their days. James warns against the futility of putting stock in our own foresight of the future, as we are but "a mist that...vanishes."
It's arrogant to make plans for tomorrow, assuring ourselves that we can predict and secure our own future.
But it's equally arrogant to make excuses for today, assuring ourselves that tomorrow will bring us the same opportunities.
By definition, we can't live in tomorrow. You can only live in today.
We are finite beings, and out of necessity, certain things must wait until tomorrow. By all means, be discerning, realistic, and strategic. Set things aside for later. The Bible calls this prudence. (Proverbs 10:5)
But too often, that phrase is used as an excuse. The thing that you put off until later will always be of secondary importance, and we will forever find reasons why right now just won't work. The Bible calls this folly. (Proverbs 6:10-11)
Satan loves to keep the best things as secondary in our minds. As long as we are convinced that we really DO intend to get to that thing, but it remains of secondary importance -- we will never get to it. The things we ought to do will forever be the "thing we will get to once we finish this first..." And soon enough, another day will end, and we find ourselves saying it again -- I'll do it tomorrow.
When you find yourself uttering those words --I'll do it tomorrow -- pause for a moment. Are you choosing prudence? Or, are you instead making excuses? What holds "second place" on your to-do list? Where has God called you to change, or grow, or repent, but you never quite get around it?
God has only given you today. Live joyfully, fully, obediently. Don't put off until tomorrow what God has called you to do right now.