It’s been 30 years since I’ve been to Walton’s Mountain. But on a recent trip with my family to the Blue Ridge Mountains, I became reacquainted with the Walton family.
We had never traveled to this part of the country and were excited for the new adventure. A log cabin awaited us with no internet, no phone, and no cable TV – a perfect place to unplug.
I was almost disappointed when we arrived to see a DVD player and small TV in the cozy living area off the kitchen. As I walked over to investigate, there was one DVD box sitting atop the player. It was Season 2 of The Waltons.
Over the next week, watching The Waltons with our two daughters became not only a nighttime routine but also a seed for conversation throughout our stay.
My fond memories of the show were revived from when I watched it during its initial run on TV. However, the lessons of family, morality, and faith seemed to stand in even starker contrast with our culture now than it did back then.
But as we watched each episode from Season 2, something new jumped out at me. The show had moments of profound wisdom.
Consider this from the family patriarch, John Walton:
There are a lot of people walking around feeling very disappointed and unhappy about life. They were counting so much in their future, they forgot to live their lives.
Being good, responsible parents, most of us wisely plan for the future whether it’s saving for retirement, our child’s college education, a new house, or a new car.
We store away today’s treasure for tomorrow’s pleasure.
But at what cost?
Too often we get caught up in a tomorrow that for all we know may never come. Or we sacrifice so much in the present that our future is but a shell of what we anticipated it to be.
What good is retirement if we’ve alienated our children in the process because we spent all of their childhood years working for a “better” tomorrow?
What good is saving for a “dream” home if we sacrifice vacations or weekend trips with our kids that help lay the foundation for healthy, long-lasting relationships that can be enjoyed for a lifetime?
Yes, planning is important. But enjoying what God has given you today is even more important.
This may cut against the grain of what is being “preached” in the world, and yes, even preached within the Christian community (in some cases even moreso in the Christian culture).
But there is Biblical foundation for living for the here and now.
Consider what the writer of Ecclesiastes says:
Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life…Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 MSG).
God deals out joy in the present. The here. The now.
John Walton’s sage advice echoes this sentiment when he says we should not place so much trust in our future that we forget to live our lives… or we forget to enjoy our kids… or we forget to love our spouse.
God gives us joy not to store up for the future, but to be experienced in the present.
Yes, there is wisdom and prudence in planning for the future. However, if we sacrifice the joy God has set before us in the present, we will be, as John Walton says, “disappointed and unhappy about life.”
If you are interested in sharing The Waltons with your family, click here.