In December, the world was introduced to the movie “The Greatest Showman.” The first time I went to the theatre to watch it with my mom, I had no idea what a phenomenon the movie and soundtrack would become, but I exclaimed the entire time watching it, “This is a fantastic movie!” The next time I saw the movie, I went with friends and sang all the way through. The third time, I continued to feel all the emotions and excitement, and dubbed it one of my top five favorite movies ever. Needless to say, if you haven’t seen it, you need to watch it! I won’t spoil the whole movie for you, but I want to reflect on something I learned and saw in myself after watching it.
In the movie, we watch the main character, P.T. Barnum, played by Hugh Jackman, fulfill a lifelong dream of creating a one-of-a-kind show for all people to enjoy. Despite obstacles and criticism, he finally becomes famous among the elite crowd of the day when he creates a national tour for Swedish opera singer, Jenny Lind. By the end of the movie, he discovers that fulfilling dreams and being famous isn’t worth it without his family, who had become tired of no longer being a priority. His realization commences with a song called “From Now On” where Barnum declares, “From now on, these eyes will not be blinded by the lights. From now on, what’s waited till tomorrow starts tonight!”
I’m someone who loves to dream and plan about the future. I have bucket lists, 5-year plans, and goals to achieve. Working in full-time ministry all year long, it seems like all I do is plan for the next big event. When I travel, I usually have an itinerary so I can maximize my time. I live future-focused.
Being future-focused is a good thing. It produces energy and direction. If we’re not careful, however, we spend our lives focused on what is to come, instead of concentrating on the good things happening around us. Jesus gave us a clear word concerning this danger:
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:31-33).
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
Jesus seems to be saying that we are displaying a lack of faith like the “unbelievers” if our thoughts are dominated by future concerns. I don’t think He was telling us never to think about or plan for the future, He was saying, however, that if we refuse to allow our minds to be dominated by such thoughts, we are freed to live the full life of kingdom citizens today. As we seek the kingdom above all else, our eyes are opened to what God is doing all around us each day. Through Jesus’ resurrection, we are offered the power to live in this fullness of life through Him in the present moment.