Anton Yelchin played Pavel Chekhov in the rebooted “Star Trek” film series. He and his family emigrated from Russia seeking political asylum when he was just six months old. Anton began acting at the age of nine. With critical acclaim for his work in the “Star Trek” series, his future was bright.
Yesterday morning, friends became concerned when he did not show up for a band performance. They found Yelchin dead at his home. His car pinned him against a brick mailbox pillar and a security fence. According to the LAPD, “It appears he had exited his car and was behind it when the vehicle rolled down a steep driveway.” He was twenty-seven years old.
The future is promised to no one. And yet it is human nature to focus on tomorrow’s challenges when today is the only day that exists. If we are faithful to the opportunities of this day, our future legacy will take care of itself.
Last night, the Cleveland Cavaliers won their first NBA title. They made history as the first team to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the championship. Their secret: they focused on each game as it came. By ignoring their legacy, they created it.
Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson won golf’s U.S. Open Championship. It was his first major title. He won it by focusing on each shot as it came. By ignoring his legacy, he created it. That’s how legacies are made.
There’s another reason to focus on the present: the law of unintended consequences shows that we cannot predict the future.
Philip Bobbitt has taught at Oxford, Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Texas. He is author of Terror and Consent, an historical study which shows that every age begets its own brand of terrorism.
During the era of the kingly state, terrorism was perpetrated by pirates who regarded themselves as kings of the sea. Imperial states such as Russia dealt with anarchists. Nation states like the U.S. have dealt with liberation movements such as the Confederacy.
Bobbitt believes that we have entered the “market state” era, in which the state exists to serve individuals through networked, decentralized, outsourcing global methods. Now we are fighting an enemy that rejects the concept of individual rights for an imposed religious legalism. But as we saw again in Orlando, our enemy is using our decentralized, outsourced global strategy against us. ISIS and other terror groups attack our individualism with individual terrorists. Their shocking global rise shows that the future is as unpredictable as ever.
No one but God knows what will happen tomorrow. So it is best to focus on what we can know: the vitality of our relationship with our Father in this moment. He wants us to love him before we seek to serve him. Oswald Chambers was right: “We count as service what we do in the way of Christian work; Jesus Christ calls service what we are to him, not what we do for him.”
Our eternal legacy depends on the depth of our present love for Jesus. So begin your week by renewing your passion for your Savior. And know with the psalmist, “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever” (Psalm 138:8).
That’s a future you can trust, guaranteed.