I remember roll call in school. I had to wait a while since my last name started with a “W”. Not that I’m complaining or have issues, but why couldn’t they start with the “Z’s” just once? There was a time when I fervently hoped the teacher wouldn’t read out my whole name. I had classmates that would snicker if she read my middle name, Oliver. As I grew up, I realized that name was something to be cherished, not regretted.

You had to answer when your name was called. The correct response was “present.” I sometimes wondered why “here” or just a hand-raise wouldn’t have worked.

Being present hopefully referred to more than just a physical location. Perhaps our teachers wanted to know if we were ready for a day of learning, or she just wanted to check off the list. Perhaps she was wishing that certain students weren’t present.

There are a lot of clichés that refer to being present in life:

  • Bloom where you’re planted.
  • Seize the day (Carpe Diem)
  • Be where your feet are
  • The only easy day was yesterday

The apostle Paul wrote that he had learned to be content (Philippians 4:11). Jesus encouraged us to live one day at a time (Matthew 6:34). There is a reason why the last commandment in Exodus 20 forbids coveting. It was intended to liberate us from wanting something we didn’t or couldn’t have. The grass may look greener on the other side, but is it? Art Linkletter once asked one of his young guests what that saying meant. The boy answered, “The grass is greener because that guy uses better fertilizer than you.”

Be present today. Live in your moment. Appreciate your life. Count your blessings.

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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