North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

    Dr. Seuss once said, “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory”. Even as a little boy I tried to enjoy every experience by “soaking it up”. You might call it “undistracted living for the moment”.    One such moment happened when I was a young adult in my twenties. I went fishing with my grandfather at our favorite fishing spot off the Escambia River. Every fishing trip carried with it the expectation of good times and a stringer full of fish. After floating down the creek, catching fish in almost every spot we casted, we crossed two beaver dams. As we drifted up to the third and final dam on the creek my grandfather said, “I think I’m going to get out and fish from the bank. There’s a slough around the corner that feeds the river. There’s usually fish there.”

    We were in a 10 foot boat and he was already aging and having a few medical issues. So, I was cautious about keeping the boat steady. He had been walking the banks of this creek since he was a kid, so he knew what he was doing and he knew where he was going. As he took the last step from the twisted twigs and limbs of the dam and onto the bank, he turned to the right to avoid a river birch tree. When he did, the sunlight shining through the trees landed directly on him. I can’t explain it other than to say, God’s Spirit told me to watch him. It’s as though God’s glory was shining down on him. It couldn’t have been more than 15-20 seconds. I watched him navigate the stumps and cypress knots that are characteristic of the river swamp.

    I admired my grandfather and I imagined I wouldn’t have many more of these times with him due to his health. I breathed the whole scene in as if I was trying to keep it, lock it away, and always have it to recall. And because I did, I often relive that moment in my mind and I can almost hear the birds chirping as they were that day. To me this is not living in the past, it’s appreciating the moments that have been meaningful to my life.

    I believe this is a healthy exercise for all of us. We mustn’t let the hurried, busy-ness of life rob us of the tender moments of joy that are meant to soften our heart and give us understanding of what’s important.

    The story is told in Matthew 17 that Jesus took disciples Peter, James, and John up a high mountain where they were alone. Scripture says, “As they looked on, a change came over Jesus; his face was shining like the sun, and his clothes were dazzling white. Peter spoke up and said Jesus, Lord, how good it is that we are here!” Peter appreciated the moment and “soaked it in”. While he was talking, a shining cloud came over them and a voice from the cloud said, “This is My Son, with whom I am pleased—listen to him!”

    Rather than rush through things and events that fill our days. Find something of worth in each one. Live life to the fullest, yet be careful to stop and smell the roses too. Claim the wonderful announcement that Jesus wants for all of us: “My purpose in coming is to give you an abundant life” (John 10:10). Embrace the moments God gives to you. They’re for your encouragement now and they’ll become joyous reminders of His love in the future.

    Our spiritual growth is dependent on what we do with our experiences. We should desire to grow in our relationship with the Lord through every season of our lives, through happy times and hard times, through times of celebration and times of pain. In the moments of our life, when we open our hearts to God’s revelation, He who made us will keep remaking us. And because we don’t take for granted Hs blessings, He gives us direction, perspective, wisdom, and courage. There’s a certain freedom and joy that comes to the person who can see the value in what is happening before them.

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a teacher, U.S. Army Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. He recently published another book titled “Living With Purpose Volume III” and it can be purchased on Contact him at:

Posted by on Aug 14 2016. Filed under Church News, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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