Recently I heard a study followed by numerous interviews on the dangers of tanning our skin. The author of the study discussed findings [admittedly not new] documenting that tanning [by any method] was dangerous. Common consequences included wrinkling and skin cancer. College aged persons tanning routinely could anticipate both consequences. Of course, nothing is new in this verification. Such information has been common knowledge for years. For years warnings have been issued.

The emphasis on these findings was followed by filmed interviews with college aged men and women. "Are you familiar with the danger?" "Yes." "This is not new information to you?" "No." "Do these findings affect your tanning habits?" "No." "How can you know what you know and continue an intensive regiment of tanning?"

The answers to the last question revealed two common attitudes that captured my attention. Attitude one: "Wrinkling or skin cancer are likely to occur twenty-five years from now. That is far off. I will deal with those problems then. Right now what is important is how I look today." Attitude two: "If my tanning results in skin cancer later, I will have the cancer cut off -- no big deal!"

This is not about sun tanning, artificial tanning, skin tones, skin firmness, physical exposure, "looking good," or "feeling good" because others admire your body. It is about an attitude, an attitude rooted in modern idolatry.

We saturate ourselves with "immediate gratification" expectations. We focus life on "right now." I must feel good about myself "right now." I must eat "right now." I want to get well "right now." I want problems solved "right now." I want troubles ended "right now." I want possession of my purchase "right now." I want my family to fulfill my expectations "right now." Spiritual blessings and protection must come "right now."

We laugh at the ignorance that prostrated itself before carved stones or wood hundreds of years ago. How foolish! How silly! How ignorant! How short sighted! As we ridicule their ridiculous short sightedness, we prostrate ourselves before our god of "right now."

Twenty years is not a long time. Ask me. I thought it was when a young, foolish me too often bowed before the altar of "right now." Now I know differently. Often eliminating cancer is not simple. Ask a family member of someone whose life was shortened by cancer. Surely, you will be different! Tell us about it--in twenty years when your body does not have the regenerative powers it had when you were twenty-two.

Next time you want your spiritual expectations met "right now," ask yourself how you can serve the eternal God with an offering on your altar of "right now." The god of "right now" specializes in robbing life. The God who is Father of Jesus Christ specializes in giving life. Does "right now" or God govern your life?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 25 May 2003

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