Don’t let future plans interrupt what God is doing here and now.

Living in the moment is a challenge for anyone in the publishing or retail business. Store decorations say Valentine’s Day, but managers are placing orders for their autumn inventory and making purchasing decisions based on both last year’s experience and intangible predictions for seasons not yet born.

Authors’ new release marketing efforts are about books they wrote 18 months ago. And their current events are dovetailed around edits for a Christmas book that won’t release for more than a year, preparing a proposal for a book that may or may not be accepted by their publisher, and research trips for their current work-in-progress.

Publishers are weighing the value of predictions from a wide range of sources, including their accounting departments, and making future decisions based on books that haven’t yet hit the bookstore shelves. Their inboxes overflow with projects in the works that require the agility and concentration of Olympic gymnasts performing on the balance beam while another gymnast’s floor exercise music is blasting from nearby speakers.

Magazine editors crank up the personal space heater under their desks and add another layer of hand-warming fingerless gloves while working on the layout for the summer issue while film producers and writers tease an idea that might not see the screen for five years.

Living in the moment?

No matter what branch of the creative industry that deals with providing God-honoring, truth-based, inspiring products—and support for those who do—we’re all faced with the dichotomy of operating on at least one level in a season different from the one in which our consumers, listeners, readers, viewers, and families operate.

When Abraham and Samuel and other legends of faith responded to God, they said, “Here I am,” not “There I am. There—down the road a bit, working ahead of you, God, anticipating where you’ll probably have me go next.”

God used the same terminology—Here I am—in Isaiah 58:9 to describe His response when we cry out to Him. His answer to us isn’t, “Just a minute,” as it often is with us. His immediate and first reaction is to assure us, “Here I am.” Or perhaps even more accurately, “I AM. Here. Even here. Now. Close. Present. My full attention.”

As an industry, what kind of intentionality is it going to take for us to prepare for the future and live ready to serve both God and the people He brings across our path—in the moment?

We share in common this struggle to plant ourselves firmly in the now, the conversations and needs in business and family we can see, hear, and touch while we immerse ourselves in the needs and demands that call to us from months, seasons, and years into the future. Multitasking with single-hearted devotion. As the psalmist expressed it, “Give me an undivided heart” (86:11 NIV).

Can we corporately pray this for each other? “God, keep us rooted where You have us now without losing sight of our responsibilities for all the tomorrows that lie ahead. Only You can accomplish such a feat, Almighty God. So we surrender this dichotomy to Your wisdom. We defer to Your leadership for our every breath, each idea, every task we tackle for Your sake, for the sake of the souls we serve, and in Your Name. Amen.”

—Cynthia Ruchti