We have explored the basic contours of here-and-now living to recognize that each moment comes as a choice. The present moment leaves it up to us as to how will live it. An old saying captures this reality, “God votes for you, the devil votes against you, and you break the tie.”
The place of volition is key in living in the here and now. It is sometimes a choice with respect to very important things. Moses told the people they had to choose between God and false gods as they prepared to enter the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 30:19-20), and much of the remainder of the Hebrew Scriptures show how life went for them in relation to their choices. We too come to forks in the road when the choices we make are significant.
But most of the time, we make choices about lesser things. But here is the paradox–we learn that the choices we make in ordinary moments end up shaping us as much (perhaps more) than the choices we make on momentous occasions.The reason is simple–we live much more in the moment than in the momentous, more in the simple than in the spectacular.
We face a great temptation to “do big things for God,” but Jesus taught plainly that the authenticity and faithfulness of our lives is in how we do the little things (Luke 16:10). The present moment is the soil in which we are planted–the occasion in which we choose the fruit which will characterize our lives.
This is why simplicity marks the saints far more than heroism. Brother Lawrence described the way when he said, “We can do little things for God.” The choices we make in the present moment are like colors added to the canvas of our life. Eventually, and little-by-little, the particular colors and individual brushstrokes become the portrait of who we are.