The Past#3. “No place to live.”

The Past#3. “No place to live.”

I always enjoyed listening to my mother’s childhood stories. Her tales of life growing up with 8 siblings in the hills behind Matata (the town in which I was raised as a child) seemed surreal to me. Her Depression Era beginnings had all its associated privations of poverty—too little food, rags for clothing, and substandard housing; things she was determined not to pass on to us. But she didn’t live in the past. She had a family to raise—that was her life to get on with.

By contrast I have listened to many Christians discuss their pasts. They speak as if all that was once counted ideal about life had long since been snatched from this world. Everything was better…just because it was!

When I preach, I like to remind everyone that we are blessed beyond measure. If you have grown up in a middleclass family in a Western country, you have probably lived a good life. You may have had modest beginnings, but now you are more than likely well-housed, well-clothed and well-fed; not to mention the cell phones, laptops, cars and untold ‘things’ about the house.Solomon had lived long enough to have seen the pitfalls of looking back:
“Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this” (Eccl.7:10).

I realise that many Christians, when harkening back to their better days, are speaking of a time of better morals. Most people they knew went to church and the family was all about ‘mum, dad and the kids.’ I can’t speak for life before the 1960s, but I do know that the rot had set in by then. You just had to listen to the pop songs and watch the movies and TV shows to know that religious values were on the way out amongst the general public.

I have told my children to stop me when I go on about the past. They will hear my stories, but ultimately I am here to ‘save up for them’ (2Cor.12:14), and to make today a better day in Christ.

The past has provided a wealth of resources: Faith, wisdom, experience, and material things. But let’s face it, the future does not start there—It is no place to live!

John Staiger


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