Are you going to throw that out?

Are you going to throw that out? How many times I heard that growing up.

It probably explains why when I opened a cupboard door, dozens of old Cool Whip and butter containers came cascading down upon me. "You never know when you may need that," was my mother's motto.

There was more going on in all of this than just hording junk, it also was reflective of the way we looked at life.The future was uncertain so we had to stockpile the resources that we might need so that we are prepared for when it gets here.

This has gone far beyond stuff these days (although accumulating stuff is still an addiction in most households). Our fear of the future has created hoarders of all of us.

One of the more subtle evidences of this is how we deal with our children these days.How will we know that they will have the right stuff to succeed in this uncertain future?

This is probably not a new question for parents but now our answer is to accumulate the right stuff.We have to get them a good preschool education and then the right high school experience.

We need to make sure their portfolio is crammed with all manners of activities and experiences.They need to get into the right college, one with a good reputation (to see how crazy this has gotten just look back to the celebrity SAT scandal of a couple of years ago).

And the list continuesthe right first job, the right financial plan, the right life coach, the right spouse

Still, the future is something we cannot prepare for.I am reminded of the movie, The Graduate, where everyone is giving the new graduate advice.

One guy takes him aside and whispers in his ear, "Plastics the future is in plastics." That was 1967.

Who would have guessed that we would be living in a virtual world today back in 1967? We have become so obsessed with anticipating the future that we are failing to live, appreciate and enjoy the present.We are literally living in the future.

We even read the New Testament through this lens.We have turned the return of Christ into the Christian version of the Jewish, Great and Terrible Day of the Lord.

Instead, the news that Christ would return was to ally fear in the future it's already decided in God's time.The challenge then is to live faithfully in the present.

When Jesus or Paul is asked about the future their answer is consistently clear get back to work.

The words of the Psalmist ring true, "This is the day that the Lord has made.Let us rejoice and be glad in it."

So go and throw out all those empty containers cluttering up your kitchen and sit back and enjoy the gift that this day brings.

(Rev. Harold "Jake" Jacobson is pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Clarion, and assistant to the Bishop NWPA Synod Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA.)

Are you going to throw that out?/title>

Heavenly Father, it is with sincere hearts that we thank You for who You are and all You have given to us, by Your grace.