Present In The Presence

Wherever you are, be all there.

Jim Elliot

“Good morning, Jesus” I whispered as I opened my eyes and stretched out my arms.

For the past year, the very last words I say before I go to sleep are “Goodnight, Jesus” and the first words I say when I wake up are “Good morning, Jesus”. I suppose it reminds me that no matter if I feel Him or not, He is still there. In fact, He is closer than my skin because He is living in me.

As I woke up this particular morning, I got dressed to go for a morning walk and just talk to my Father. I live in the country near almond orchards and five minutes into my walk, I got stopped by my eighty-five year old neighbors who own the almond orchard. Bless their hearts. In common cases, the conversation would consist of the lady talking to me about almonds and, to put it bluntly, me trying to leave. My mind would race with all these things I had to do after my walk that I would rarely be present in the conversation. I would immediately disregarded this small conversation as unimportant; seemingly a “waste of time”. This time was different. As my mind starting brainstorming good excuses as to why I had to leave, I felt the Holy Spirit impress on my heart:

“Be present.” 

He had things to teach me. So, I listened. Both to the Holy Spirit and to my elderly neighbor. I stood in front of her and gave my full focus and attention. And then I saw it; something I had missed many times before. I saw the light in her eyes. Her eyes were filled with joy and wonder as she talked about her life as a child. How she had to walk miles to get to the bus for school, and the time she first learned to drive, and the challenges that came with having five siblings and one bathroom.

After thirty minutes of talking with my neighbor, her husband came over and said a jovial comment that was both simple, yet profound:

“What are you gals’ doing over here? Solving the world’s problems or somethin’?”

Aha. Yes, yes we are. Often in life, we fail to be present in small things because our minds are bombarded with things that seem to be much more big and important. Yet, if you look at the biggest things in life, they all started with small beginnings. Anytime you hear testimonies of people with a famous talent, or authors with a best-selling book, or  huge non-profit organizations, the common theme is that it all began with one idea, one action, one abandoned heart. I know of a lady in Africa who saw a need. She saw orphans on the street stealing food and scrounging for money. So, what did she do? She didn’t sit back and wait for soemthing bigger to come. No, she did something about it. She took ten children off the street and started teaching them. And it grew… and grew… and grew, until it reached 2,000 children today. Fortunately, it is still growing. She planted a seed and reaped a multiplied harvest. This is a Kingdom prinicple that we must understand.

We often wait and anticipate and expect all of these big things in life. Big dreams are great, and we should have them. God tells us to dream big. However, all big things start with small beginnings. Everything begins with the seed. The truth is, there is gold in every second of every day. Every moment is a gift given and it is our choice whether we want to find the beauty in it or not; whether or not we choose to be present. Every moment is an opportunity to learn, to give, and to receive. I believe that the most precious and valuable thing we can give people is our time. Money will pass away. Stuff will not remain. But time is something that is boundless and ripples into eternity.

“Life is beautiful,” she said.

“Yes, yes it is.”

As I walked away from that conversation, I felt the loving embrace of my Father’s sweet conviction:

“Father, I want  to be so present in everything I do. When I talk and listen and love on people, I want them to feel as if they are the only person in the entire world. I want to invest everything into that one conversation, that one smile, that one act of love. I don’t ever want to become ‘too busy’ or my life too hectic. I want to be a human being and not a human doing. I was to find the beauty and the gold in every second of my life. Help me never to forsake small beginnings, because I know everything big begins with a seed.” 

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