[present perfect] chapter 6: being present

Written by Jesse Giglio

Jesse Giglio loves stories, at least good stories but then again thatʻs why we have bad ones…so we can tell. He thinks life is meaningful. Sometimes the way we live it is not. He’s a teaching pastor and mission architect in Southern California. But prefers activist and raconteur. His church isnʻt too big and isnʻt too small but itʻs not just right either. Itʻs probably a lot like yours.

July 19, 2010

“No moment is trivial since each one contains a divine kingdom, and heavenly sustenance.” – -J.P. de Caussade

When flipping through Greg Boyd’s book Present Perfect I was immediately drawn to the title of this chapter, Being Present. We live in a day where our situational awareness seems to be at an all time low while our “connectedness” is at an all time high. We carry the world in our pockets and often the concern of everyone but who we’re with. God is in the moment and to dismiss moments is to dismiss God. To miss His story, His purpose and His opportunities for you. We desperately need to slow down from light speed to frame by frame because, as the ATT commerical says, “Any second could be the second.”

Greg opens with the recounting of is favorite play, Our Town. It’s the story of a young girl who dies giving birth and finds out she will be allowed to relive any one day of her life. She chooses her twelfth birthday.

Getting this one day back Emily is overwhelmed by the beauty of everything but also by the pain of how it is disregarded by the living. She yearns for but a moment with her mother, but to no avail, her mother is “busy.” Busy with what? Most likely some imitation of life.

We must realize life while we live it.

The chapter moves to discuss the incarnation of Christ as something that the early Christians understood not as a “once upon a time” but an act that continues on in the present and to the future. We carry Christ with us as we set ourselves aside to enter into the lives of others just as God himself lay down his own life for ours.

Greg then goes into some practical exercises and examples of how it could look to be present in the presence of others and the value of living intentional moments. From riding the bus to being helped at the check-out these moments surround us, opportunities limitless, our task? To see people. Really see them. As Christ did.

When Jesus looked at the world he was able to see past judgment and into the lives of people who needed him. People who were broken and who hurt because of it. People who were once little children and who still need a Father.

Being Present calls us to not just look but see what’s around us. To be intentional with the time God’s presented with us, not just as a lifetime but with the seconds that make up that lifetime. To realize now what God’s up to today.




  1. @kylelreed

    I like to live in the future because then I am not held accountable to the present.
    I think that is my biggest struggle.

    I like what you said at the end though about living in the present. Realizing what God is doing today.

  2. jessegiglio

    I'm right there with you Kyle, sometimes I think I'm even more of a futurist and a Christian…

  3. @bibledude

    I think that NOT thinking (umm… worrying) so much about the future is probably one of the hardest things that I've ever tried to do! And I agree that the what Jesse said at the end is awesome… we've really got to be intentional about seeing what God is doing in the present moment.

  4. cherylsmith

    Would you please get off my toes?

    I've had two conversations recently, one with my husband, and one with a good friend, about their growing up years and fathers/step fathers who weren't present. Physically, yes (sometimes) but emotionally, no. I've been thinking a lot about what my own children would say about this time in their lives and am convicted that they too may say, “she had the world in her pocket and the concern of everyone but who she was with…” may it not be so.

  5. Crystal

    This whole concept of being present for people is one I've been thinking about all summer. I've had youth open up to me about all sorts of stuff going on in their own lives or in lives of people they love and I have to admit there have been many times when I've wanted to run away and not hear it. After all, there's not anything I can do or say to make it better. But somewhere along the way I realized that so many times in our lives we don't need answers or someone to “fix it” – we simply need someone to be present. To be truly present. To see into our hearts and to hear our pain – to feel our pain with us – and to help us to know that we are beautiful, no matter how much pain we have.

    It's tough, but when we truly live in the present moment and only in the present moment, maybe it's a little bit easier. Moment by moment – I think that's my new mantra…

  6. cherylsmith

    the alternative, I suppose, is either PUD (pushing up daisies) or stagnation. Neither sound like great options. 🙂

  7. @bibledude

    This is something that I'm learning from my wife… to just 'be there'. I don't have to fix, solve, or even understand her problems. The simple act of being there for her is often enough.

    I often think too that God sometimes want the same thing with us… no worrying, no bantering, just… being. there. with Him.

  8. @bibledude

    Wow Cheryl… I know that not everyone reading this gets the whole back-story, but I do. That's a pretty powerful question (about what your children would be thinking). It's funny how these kinds of posts in projects like this just really hit home for people…

    I'm glad that God's still working on you!


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[present perfect] chapter 6: being present

by Jesse Giglio time to read: 2 min