Skip to main content

Enneagram. Myers Briggs. Clifton Strengths. As I strive to lean into the second half of John Calvin’s definition of wisdom, known as “knowledge of self,” I find a common theme emerging from these personality tests. I am a future thinker. With this future mindset, I tend to have a natural curiosity about what is and what can be—I love dreaming about the possibilities of what can be. My mind convinces me that, no matter how good something is, there is always something more. The fact that others do not think this way both blows my futurist mind but also produces envy within me. There is a shadow side to always thinking about the future. The shadow cast by this personality gift is that I genuinely wrestle with being present in the present and I envy those who can. I get caught up in my thoughts instead of contently enjoying the people present with me. I get exhilarated by processing the endless possibilities of how churches can engage their neighborhood and unfortunately, I can overlook and fail to celebrate ways God is already at work within the church. 

My intent of this reflection is not that you gain knowledge of Brad (pretty sure that would not lead you to further wisdom). I intend for this write-up to lead us to the Reformed father’s full definition of wisdom, which is “knowledge of God and knowledge of self.” Soon, our 196 delegates from the 49 classes of the Christian Reformed Church will gather for Synod 2024. I know many of you and others are thinking about this future gathering and how the conversations there will affect the future of our denomination. Or your mind is future-oriented because you are facing personal trials that make you wonder: “How will this play out? What does the future hold?”

You too may be wrestling with being present in the present.

So today let me remind you anew of who God is. Soak in this knowledge about God. One of the most frequented refrains in the Bible is: “Fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10). Jesus was called Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Remember also that “you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you” (1 Corinthians 3:16). As we have questions about the future, know that God is present at work in our stories as he continues to write a grander story of redemption and restoration.

But also today let me remind you anew of who you are. Soak in this knowledge about you. One of the most frequented refrains in the book of Acts is: “... you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). Jesus called us “the light of the world,” which means people will “see your good deeds and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14, 16). Remember also to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33).

As we have questions about the future, we are called to be witnesses in this present moment with the beauty of our differing personalities. One way we do that is by being present in the present but also being present in the presence of people. So as we face trials, personal or denominational, let me ask this present-oriented question: How will we make ourselves more present as witnesses of Jesus today and this summer? May a common theme of chosen activities (like prayer walking and neighborhood meals) be that others may know God as we live out the knowledge of who we are. Witnesses. Light. Kingdom-seekers. 

Brad Meinders is Resonate’s Regional Mission Leader for the Central United States region


Thanks for your thoughtfulness Brad! One of the invitations I try to extend and receive myself is to create margin in my schedule and my life in order to honour the call to be present. It is hard to be fully present when in a hurry. I’ve learned a great deal from friends in cultures that believe that the person in front of you should be prioritized over the people who are waiting for you. While I recognize the need to honour people from within my current cultural norms, the cultural alternative highlights how highly other parts of the world value intentional presence. My journey is to reduce hurry, show up in a more peaceful way, so that I can host the presence of God from a more yielded posture for those around me. 

It is a rather Hasidic way of thinking! :) While the Hasidim acknowledge the future and the world to come, their focus is present and how they can embody God's chesed or divine love in the present. What we do in the present helps to form the future. Hence Paul's "pray constantly." If he was drawing on his Jewish background and the word customarily translated as "prayer" he was actually saying that we are to be in constant communion with the Lord, not simply during scheduled times of devotion. The whole of our lives are to be an act of worship. This is not to mention that the present is all that we have. Tomorrow and all its plans are guarenteed to no one.


Let's Discuss

We love your comments! Thank you for helping us uphold the Community Guidelines to make this an encouraging and respectful community for everyone.

Login or Register to Comment

We want to hear from you.

Connect to The Network and add your own question, blog, resource, or job.

Add Your Post