Living in the Parenthesis

By Waylon Bailey.

Years ago I taught at New Orleans Baptist Theological. I loved teaching, but I mainly loved the people I taught.

I’m often asked if I miss teaching. My answer is always the same, “Not a minute because I teach and preach all the time, and I love the people to whom I get to be the pastor.”

Then I always add, “I miss getting to know so many Godly people who regularly go through NOBTS.”

I thought about all of this because a few days ago a former student quoted me about something I said years ago.

Being a seminary student is difficult because you’re usually working three jobs and trying to be a husband and father as well as a pastor. I remember telling students that they have to see this time as a parenthesis. Life will not always be this way, but for right now, this is life. Therefore, make the most of this time.

It’s so easy to always be wishing for something else. I talked with a former church member who reads this blog and now lives out of state. He has children who can’t go to school and can’t do much of anything else. He said that his daughter drew with chalk on the sidewalk, “Hurry Summer!”

I laughed and thought that I would like for summer to hurry as well.

But that’s not the best way to live. The best way is to savor this day that the Lord has made. The best way is to look for people to love and to bless. The best way is to seek God this day and please Him in all that we do.

When the people of Jerusalem were taken into exile, God had His prophet Jeremiah write a letter to the exiles telling them to make the best of their situation. It wasn’t all of life but it is life and you must make the best of it.

He told them to plant gardens and vineyards, build houses, give your children in marriage, and seek the welfare of the place they had been carried (Jeremiah 29:4-10). In other words, live life fully in the parenthesis in which you live.

That’s what we must do. We only have this day.

Make the best of it for God.