Long before P.T. Barnum joined with ringmaster Anthony Bailey to form "the Greatest Show on Earth," he had another, not entirely unrelated, career. In 1841, Barnum opened a museum in downtown Manhattan that featured a wealth of peculiar attractions and intriguing exhibits. The museum became so popular that Barnum began turning people away, an unfortunate decision that was obviously bad for business. He had to figure out a way to keep people from lingering too long, so he could accommodate more visitors. He came up with a brilliant plan.
Barnum printed large posters proclaiming, "This Way to the Great Egress!" Arrows directed the curious customers towards a mysterious door near the back of the building. Anxious to see what was sure to be the most extraordinary of attractions, visitors made their way through the other exhibits a little more quickly. When, finally, they came to the door marked "Egress," they would excitedly step through, only to find themselves outside of the museum.
"Egress," it turns out, means "Exit."
Caught up in what comes next, I often miss what is right in front of me. The promises of the future often distract me from the experience of the present. Concern about where I am going often keeps me from trusting God where I am in this very moment.
Let's keep moving forward, but let's not stop experiencing.
Let's keep planning, but not stop acting.
Let's keep preparing, but not stop living.
As Jim Elliot once wrote, "Wherever you are, be all there."