I’m pretty sure I lost my reading glasses this week while running through a parking lot in the rain. Anyway, I had the glasses, then I ran through the rain, then at some point later I didn’t have my glasses. Such things happen, I suppose. And as long as I can get an article out of it, I suppose I can survive.
Running through the rain is a short-term tactic. Twenty years from now I won’t care how wet I got; in fact, I didn’t care 20 minutes after the actual event. The glasses are a much bigger deal. I was forced to go get another pair — in the rain, ironically. Be assured, I was more careful going through that parking lot. And a year from now, I won’t care about the glasses, either. Time puts things in perspective.
It illustrates the difference between immediate things and important things. Just because something tries to occupy your complete attention in the moment, that doesn’t mean it is important. It certainly doesn’t mean you should ignore truly important things to focus on it. But often we drift from moment to moment, emergency to emergency, never deliberately choosing to forsake our own long-term needs. But that is exactly what we are doing.
We are constantly exhorted to do the opposite. Seek heavenly things (Colossians 3:1). Fixate on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). Build a spiritual stockpile (Matthew 6:20). Don’t wait for a break in the action to do it, because the break won’t arrive on schedule; it may not arrive at all. In time, you will be forced to discern the difference between the immediate and the important. Better to start now.