Summary: A sermon about living in the now.
"Never Too Busy"
I've got a friend who is stuck.
A couple of years ago he retired and moved down to Chattanooga from the Northeast to settle and take care of his aging parents.
A little while after moving here he bought a new Lexus--a hybrid.
He had thought long and hard about putting the kind of money he did into that car.
He had checked it out for months.
He had weighed all his options.
Then he made his decision.
He bought the car.
One day, sitting in a coffee shop with he and his wife, he started to lament: "I don't think I should have bought that car.
It was the wrong decision."
Her response was: "You always do this.
You made the decision.
Stick with it.
Over the course of the couple of years we have known one another, this friend of mine has second-guessed his career choice over and over again.
"I should have gotten out of what I was doing a long time ago."
"I never should have done this; I never should have done that."
Over the past several months, he has voiced his regret in making the move to Chattanooga.
He talks with longing about the place in the Northeast where he used to live.
Recently I missed a Tuesday morning coffee meeting with my friend and asked someone else who meets with us how my friend was doing.
"Oh, he's as cynical as ever" was the response.
"He came down here with plans to 'get involved' in the church and do great things.
He has so much to offer.
I worry he is paralyzing himself by all his constant second-guessing."
I imagine he's been that way all his life--living a paralyzed life.
Many of us do this, I think.
It's hard, sometimes, to live in the "now."
We often think, "oh, if I just had this or if I just had that things would be 'just right.'"
This past week I was having a phone conversation with a friend.
She was sharing some of her misgivings.
She's afraid life is "slipping away" from her and she isn't doing what she set out to accomplish.
"I feel like I now only have about 10 years left to be what I want to be and do what I want to do with my career," she told me.
Then I said, "You are only in your 40's.
You've got 20 or 30 years or more."
Now this is someone I have always thought of as "having it all together."
She gives off the impression of being joyful, enthusiastic, full of energy and happy "where she is."
Little did I know.
Whoever came up with the phrase: "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" was a genius.
'Cause it's not.
We are all living in the "not yet," to some extent, are we not?
But friends, our life is "now."
We are never going to "arrive" during our short stay on this earth.
We are constantly in flux and transition.
And we will never be satisfied until we are able to make the best of where we are now.
That's not to say that we are not to aim to constantly improve.
But we are to make the most of "now."
I know of clergy who live for the next appointment, and then the next, and the next and it just goes on and on and on.
And this could apply to just about any line of work.
In our Gospel Lesson for this morning, Jesus and His followers are on the move.
They are heading for something "big."
Jesus is going to Jerusalem where He will ride into the city on a donkey with a crowd singing and shouting: "Hosanna! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!"
Soon, Jesus will be arrested, crucified and rise again.
He will ascend to heaven and sit at the right hand of God the Father, once again.
He will have accomplished His mission.
"And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
The crowd doesn't know all these things, but Jesus does.
In the meantime, Jesus and what we are told is a "sizable crowd" are zipping on through Jericho.
They are on a mission.
They are not thinking about where they are; they are concentrating on where they want to be.
But low and behold, "where they are" is an important place.
And the reason for this is that "a blind beggar named Bartimaes..." is "sitting beside the road."
And Bartimaes needs Jesus "right here and right now"...not just some time far off in the future.
And the crowd needs Bartimaes as well.
They need Bartimaes in order to be reminded what Jesus is about...