“Carpe diem” is an old and oft-quoted saying.  Translated literally it says; “Seize the day!”  It can be understood as saying one should take advantage of the opportunities any given day offers.  It can also be taken as a challenge to live in the present.

Physically, we can do no other than live in the present.  Psychologically, we can live in the past, wasting time and effort regretting past mistakes/failures or we can live in the future and spend time in in useless daydreaming.  It is good to remind ourselves that the past is history and cannot be changed.  The future is mystery and is only partially under our control.  The challenge is to live in the here and now.

Living in the present requires having the proper perspective.  For the Christian the proper perspective is to see things with the eyes of faith.  Seeing with the eyes of faith reveals new vistas and gives new meaning to things.  It makes a person feel very much like a severely myopic person who gets proper glasses for the first time.

Successfully living in the present also involves knowing where to look for what will meet our needs.  Two stories to illustrate that idea.

The first is that of the African farmer who sold his farm and spent the rest of his life hunting for diamonds the world over, only to have the richest diamond mine in the world discovered on the farm he sold.

The second is about a sailing ship that had been lost for several weeks in the South Atlantic.  Its supply of drinking water was exhausted.  Day after day the ship drifted under the merciless tropical sun.  Then, after everyone had given up hope of being rescued, another ship came into view. The captain signaled: “We need fresh water.”  The other ship signaled back: “Just lower your buckets over the side.”

Once again it is faith that is crucial to living in the present, telling us where to look.

The captain thought his message had been misunderstood and repeated his message.  He got the same answer.  After the third attempt with the same result, the captain in desperation ordered the crew to lower the buckets over the side.  To their amazement they drew up fresh water.

They had drifted near the coast of Brazil and were actually in an immense stream of fresh water extending into the sea from the mouth of the Amazon River.  They had been  dying of thirst only a few feet from fresh water.  They were acutely aware of what they needed but did not know where to look for it.