Written by David P. Nolte

JOHN 10:7-10

For some the most action they see is what they see in a daydream. In the musical, "Porgy and Bess" is the song that reflects the plight of those who dream their lives away. "Lazybones, sleepin' in the sun. How you 'spect to get your day's work done? Never get your day's work done Sleepin' in the new day's sun. Lazybones, sleepin' in the shade. How you 'spect to get your cornmeal made? You'll never get your cornmeal made Just sleepin' in the evenin' shade." Let us not be lazy or idle, bound to a dream of the past, or a dream of the future. Don't dream your life away, live it fully!
    1. Solomon cautioned, "Don't long for 'the good old days.' This is not wise." Ecclesiastes 7:10 (NLT). But, we've all heard it, and likely have said it, "Oh for the good old days!" The Beatles wrote, "Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they're here to stay. Oh, I believe in yesterday. .... Yesterday life was such an easy game to play; now I need a place to hide away. Oh, I believe in yesterday; I believe in yesterday." Believing in yesterday means different things to different people
      1. For some it's days of good health and freedom from pain.
      2. For some it's days of better finances and greater prosperity.
      3. For some it's before the loss of a loved one.
      4. For some it's before the stresses and strains of family and other responsibilities came on full bore.
    2. Not all our yesterdays are happy ones, and some memories are painful. But there is still some value in remembering.
      1. We can learn lessons from yesterday's failures and successes, pains and pleasures, losses and gains.
      2. We can relive precious moments with loved ones gone on. We can hear a voice now silent; see a face no longer with us, walk a familiar pathway by their side.
      3. We can measure our spiritual growth, seeing where we are and from where we came.
      4. We can recount former blessings, and refresh our confidence in God's faithfulness and provision as we remember how He always showed up before.
    3. But there is also a caveat, a warning, a caution. Remembering the past is one thing, enjoying those memories is a good thing; but to park in the past, to hide out in the past, to ignore reality, is to dream our life, not to live it.
      1. Living in the past is a fantasy and if we let it, that will become a hindrance to living in the present.
      2. Living in the past might create resentment, self-pity and bitterness if the past was not a happy and pleasant experience for us.
      3. Living in the past can restore and revive and exaggerate past grudges and injustices real or imagined.
      4. Living in the past can create paralysis as we remember failures and we become fearful of trying again.
      5. Living in the past can make us anxious and worried when we remember former dangers or traumas and project them onto today.
      6. Living in the past is a false escape and a deceitful security from the real situations of the present world.
    4. A woman whose husband had died ten years previously, lost her bearings and continued to set a place at the table for him, wondering idly why he was so long in coming home from work. She would tell any visitor, "I have to go fix Howard's dinner pretty soon. He will be home in about half and hour." But Howard never came. She was locked into the past and her dream of yesterday dimmed her present. We can fall into that trap, too, if we dream away life focused on the past. Don't dream your life, live it.
    1. We may look forward with grim apprehension or with eager anticipation. Either way, if we become so preoccupied with the future that we forget the present, we dream our life, we don't live our life. The Bible speaks to both viewpoints:
      1. Those who worry and fret about the future paralyze and hinder themselves for the here and now. Jesus said, "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today." Matthew 6:34 (NLT).
      2. Those who waste life looking to sea for their ship to come in forget to row the boat they are in right now! James has a word for those folk, "Look here, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.' How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog - it's here a little while, then it's gone. What you ought to say is, 'If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.' Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil." James 4:13-16 (NLT).
    2. Someone said we should plan as if we had a thousand years, and live as if we had only one day. Planning is good, provided we remember that
      1. We don't have the power to determine the future, only God does that. The only impact we have on tomorrow is how we live and choose and act today. Good choices mean good consequences; bad choices mean bad consequences.
      2. We can never project our will onto tomorrow. Our will power is mostly wishpower.
      3. We may propose, but God may dispose.
    3. Both worry about what is to come and hopeful anticipation about it are hindrances when they render us unaware of, and uninvolved in, living today.
    4. But we can't completely forget about the future, so we should maintain an optimism about it because it is in God's hands. In the musical, "Annie," she expresses this confidence, VIDEO CLIP. "The sun'll come out, tomorrow, Bet your bottom dollar, that tomorrow, There'll be sun. Just thinkin' about, tomorrow, Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow, 'til there's none. When I'm stuck with a day that's grey and lonely, I just stick out my chin, and grin, and say, Oh, the sun'll come out tomorrow, So you gotta' hang on till' tomorrow, Come what may. Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow, You're only a day away." Optimism and hope are good. But remember that just thinking about tomorrow may not clear away all the cobwebs. Rather, it may create a few cobwebs of worries and anxieties as we face the dread unknown with fearful tension. We can waste life by dreaming it away focused too much on tomorrow. Don't dream your life, live it.
    1. Paul reminded his readers about the crucial importance of the present, saying, "As God's partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God's kindness and then ignore it. For God says, 'At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.' Indeed, the 'right time' is now. Today is the day of salvation." 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 (NLT).
    2. There's a great song, I know you've heard it. The lyrics by Kris Kristofferson are, "I'm only human, I'm just a man. Help me believe in what I could be And all that I am. Show me the stairway, I have to climb. Lord for my sake, teach me to take One day at a time. One day at a time sweet Jesus That's all I'm asking from You. Just give me the strength To do everyday what I have to do. Yesterday's gone sweet Jesus And tomorrow may never be mine. Lord help me today, show me the way One day at a time."
    3. Yesterday is dead and gone; tomorrow never comes; today is here and we should Carpe Diem; seize the day.
      1. Paul wrote, "So be careful how you live. Don't live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don't act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do." Ephesians 5:15-17 (NLT).
      2. David wrote, "This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalms 118:24 (NASB).
        1. Today is our day, our only real, tangible day.
        2. God made this day and to neglect it is to shun His gift.
        3. Today is a day in which to rejoice and be glad because God Himself is with us. Sure there are problems; of course there are hurts; certainly we may have our heartaches. But to rejoice and be glad is a decision we make to look beyond those things to the Giver of this day.
    4. A man once asked his grandson, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" The grandson said, "A doctor." Grandpa continued, "What then?" "I will cure people of diseases." said grandson. "What then?" continued grandpa. "I will get married and have a family." "What then?" "I guess I'll get old and die." "What then? And, more importantly, what are you doing right now, today, to get ready for then?" asked grandpa. He wanted his grandson to plan with intelligence, but to know that what he did now was most important. Don't dream your life in yesterday or tomorrow; instead, live it right now.

Let the past be the past, but learn from your mistakes and your successes. Go ahead and make your plans, but be ready to have God change them. But don't just dream your life; live it. "Only one life, 'twill soon be past; only what's done for Christ will last." Make every day count for Jesus. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He can forgive our past, secure our future and make today meaningful. We are challenged to live life daily, sincerely, and with dedication to Jesus. Let our resolution and commitment be to serve Him faithfully today, and every today as long as He gives us the opportunity.

Return To New Testament Sermons

Return To Archive

Return To Home Page