Modern society has upset the healthy rhythms of our lives. Rather than viewing time as a friend that enables us to prioritize our priorities and pursue our God-given dreams, passions, and relationships, we are often trapped in vicious cycles of stress, busyness, and a profound lack of time.
Former president of Asbury Theological Seminary, Dr. David L. McKenna, has said, “Work has been devalued and play has been invaded by the purpose of work. With so much leisure and so many options, play has been subjected to a time-clock schedule with its demand for successful production. In many instances, worship has been eliminated from the rhythm of life and rest has become a dreaded experience on a ‘crash pad.’ The result is that work is a necessary evil, play is work, worship is idolatry and rest is a short course in death.” Unfortunately, my own experience affirms his conclusions.
When I am praying, I feel guilty that I am not spending time with my family. When I am with my family, I lament my lack of prayer. When I am talking with people, I get distracted by the things I forgot to do earlier in the day, and when I finally get back to work, I regret not maximizing the time I had with people. Sometimes, I feel like I am everywhere except for the present moment—and that is very tragic because the present moment is all that any of us really have.
James, the Lord’s brother, said it this way, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” (James 4:13-14) James is not trying to depress us or make us complacent about preparing for our futures; he is urging us to invest the lion’s share of our efforts into today.
So, let’s continually ask if we are fully engaged in the present moment. Let’s make sure we are maintaining healthy life rhythms that allow us to offer God and our loved ones our very best efforts, rather than giving them our distracted leftovers. Let’s discover (or perhaps re-discover) a rhythm of life that balances a combination of worship, work, rest, and play. Each of these components is essential for our physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing, and today–as long as we have it–is the perfect day to capture them.
 Quoted in Richard Exley’s book The Rhythm of Life (Honor, 1987).