A few months ago, my husband Brady and I attended a social event. Upon arrival each guest was issued a ticket for a drawing. The event planning team did a great job with prize promotion.
Buzz about the prizes almost overshadowed the significance of the gathering. Among the prizes up for grabs were two round-trip plane tickets, flat screen televisions, and IPads – just to name a few.
At the bottom of each ticket were the words “Must Be Present to Win.” Since everyone with a ticket was in attendance, surely the “must be” condition was met. One by one, the coveted prizes were paraded before the audience.
Applause erupted as winners received their prizes.
However, when one of the winning tickets was announced, no one came forward to stake a claim.
Perhaps an emergency pulled the winner away. Maybe they were distracted and didn’t hear their ticket’s number. Whatever the reason, after several attempts another ticket was pulled. The next winning ticket holder squealed with delight as they ran to the front of the room.
The evening progressed and eventually Brady and I were winners too.
As we drove home with our new flat screen in the trunk, I thought about the person who missed out on their prize. I also thought about the importance of being present – and not just for a prize drawing.
There are days when I want to be absent from a busy routine and seemingly unending demands. Thoughts of a relaxing getaway or a rejuvenating retreat provide a mental escape. Taking a respite to recharge is essential to our well-being.
But staying off the grid and missing what matters from God’s perspective, does not end well.
Through His death and resurrection, Christ offers us forgiveness of sin and eternal life. We step into the winner’s circle by placing our faith in Him as Savior and Lord. But to reap all of the victorious benefits, we must stay close to the Champion.
When God calls our name are we tempted to do a disappearing act? Do we ignore what’s significant or isolate from those we love when we hear “spouse of,” “friend to,” “parent of“ or “leader for?” If I missed your name, feel free to place it here: _______________.
If I don’t show up in life, I miss out on much more than a free trip or tv – I forfeit the peace and power that knowing Christ brings. And I also miss the privilege of being a blessing to someone else.
Being present requires me to be intentional in experiencing God whether I’m alone or with others. Otherwise, my time “off the grid” ends up being time out of His will.
Pain begins to define me.
Godly potential begins to escape me.
The enemy begins to defeat me.
And yet, whether I’m on a relationship roller coaster or being purpose-driven, I can be confident God is with me because that’s who Jesus is — God with us. (see Matthew 1:18-23)
When challenges come, He is a present help in the time of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
When sadness comes, in His presence is the fullness of joy. (Psalm 16:11)
When good times come, He is the Giver of every good and perfect gift. (James 1:17)
In the busyness or burdens of life we can “be present” in His power, when we believe and trust God. Scripture defines the ultimate win is hearing Him say “well-done my good and faithful servant.” (see Matthew 25:14-29) To get there we won’t be perfect; but we can keep pressing on in our walk with Him. And when we do, the victory He gives gives hope for the heart and joy to the soul.
“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” – Philippians 3:14 NLT