Years ago I tried to read The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but just couldn’t get into it. I found it a hard read by a brilliant man, philosopher, and theologian. But recently a young friend of mine, a junior high school math teacher, started a Friday morning men’s group at our church and this is the book he’s chosen for discussing and journaling about at the moment.
It’s been said, “Timing is everything.” And that may be the case here, because now I’m devouring this writ paragraph by paragraph and getting so much out of it! Maybe it’s where I am spiritually, or where the Lord is leading me? Maybe it’s because Bonhoeffer’s times (pre-WWII Germany) are so much like ours? I just know I’m grateful to the Lord, to Bonhoeffer, to Ryan and to the the men who meet on Friday mornings, because I’m getting so much truth for living and spiritual food out of this book.
The book is largely about Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” and about discipleship. In essence it is about Jesus and about us – disciples. Of course, Bonhoeffer wrote and knew there was a cost to discipleship, something we don’t hear much about in our churches today. And as John Eldredge says in Beautiful Outlaw, “An honest book about Jesus that does not address suffering is not an honest book.”
But we’ll leave the ideas of cost and suffering in following Jesus till another day. Today I want to share a concept and a couple verses that have been ringing in my ears and spirit since I read them in The Cost of Discipleship. The concept is “live today,” and only “in the present,” as opposed to “the past” or “the future.”
In His model prayer, Jesus said, “Give us this day, our daily bread.” Do you see His focus on today? And on looking to God, our Father, daily, each individual day, as we live one day at a time, for all our sustenance, physical and spiritual? This philosophy and practice fosters and strengthens your most important relationship in the world, that between you and your Creator, your Father in Heaven. It also gives you the focus you need, to make the most of your time, and bring the maximum meaning to your life and experience on earth in relating to God and others. Live today, in the moment.
I attended my father’s church Sunday and heard the preacher say about Judah in Jeremiah’s day, a day also like ours, just before the Babylonian captivity and destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., that their religion or relationship with God had “become a part of their life instead of the center of their life.” Don’t let this happen to you! Pray as Jesus taught, and live in the day.
The second Scripture Bonhoeffer used in making this point about living each day was Matthew 6:34, “each day has enough evil of it’s own.” So don’t drag yesterday’s regrets, judgments, etc. into today! Nor are we to drag tomorrow’s worries into today! Each day has “enough trouble of it’s own.” It seems to be the natural order and design of things, so listen to Jesus and do what He says. Make it your practice to live today, in the present. And recommit to it everyday, or whenever the thought crosses your mind. Start today! Live today!
In doing so you will carpe diem “seize the day!”
“‘Give us this day our daily bread.” Jesus (Matthew 6:11)
“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Jesus (Matthew 6:34)