The Danger of Living in the Past

Major League Baseball old-timer games used to be all the rage, but when I have attended these old-timer affairs, they had a level of sadness about them—like the Olympic gymnast who by age 14 has done the most important thing they will ever do. It is sad to see people who seem to be living only in the glory of the events of the past. Like the TV child star who can’t make the transition to live beyond stardom. When all we do is rest on past accomplishments (or, by the same token, lament our past failures), we rob ourselves of the opportunities the present and future might present. We need to be three-dimensional people who learn from the past (not dwell on it) and prepare for the future in the present.

The wisdom of the Proverbs helps us here. Haddon Robinson, in his message on “Large Lessons from Little Creatures” points to Proverbs 30:24-28:

There are four things which are little on the earth, But they are exceedingly wise: The ants are a people not strong, Yet they prepare their food in the summer; The rock badgers are a feeble folk, Yet they make their homes in the crags; The locusts have no king, Yet they all advance in ranks; The spider skillfully grasps with its hands, And it is in kings’ palaces.

The key is the ant, who knows what time it is. The ant understands that we cannot live in the past, but is very wise. His wisdom tells us that we can learn from the past but we cannot live in the past. Instead, like the ant, the only way we can prepare for the future is by living wisely in the present. The question is, are we? Do we so allow the past to consume us that we fail to embrace the opportunities of today? It is an important question to wrestle to the ground.

Join us tomorrow on Sports Spectrum radio as we take a further look at the need for healthy perspective as we face the challenges of life.

Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain