I’m still thinking a lot about Demas . . .
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world [νῦν], and is departed unto Thessalonica . . . 2 Timothy 4:10
It is noteworthy that νῦν (Strong’s G 3568; pronounced noon), which is here rendered ‘this present world’ is frequently translated as ‘now’ in the KJV. Demas’ downfall seems to been a full-on love affair with now—this present world. Early morning bike rides, desert monsoons and killer sushi rank right up there with the enticing of Thessalonica. I’d have to concede that I’m pretty high on this present world. Perhaps I’m on the same slippery slope that lured away Demas.
Consider a couple of examples how the Savior used νῦν:
Blessed are ye that hunger now [νῦν]: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now [νῦν]: for ye shall laugh.
Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now [νῦν]! for ye shall mourn and weep.
Was Demas then relegated to a dour, anhedonic existence devoid of rainbows? Is the same true of us? I think not. It’s not about the enjoyment of νῦν, but rather about νῦν becoming the center of our world. This pursuit has many names: hedonism, non-theism, humanism, and secularism. All suggest that directives from God shouldn’t encumber the enjoyment of life in the νῦν.
Herein lies the problem: it’s not all monsoons and rainbows. What happens when life becomes far less pleasure than pain? It’s the unfortunate reality for the overwhelming majority of people.
The Savior’s use of νῦν is all about perspective. Those whose priorities are centered on νῦν face great disappointment when they encounter the realities of eternity. Man is intended to have more than just transitory joy as he struggles weekend to weekend. And, although I try to take great pleasure in νῦν, I try to remember its wonders are trivial compared to those we are promised in eternity.
But to be a disciple of Christ forces us to shun some of the pleasures and distractions of νῦν and suffer for his sake. In the words of Paul:
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [νῦν ] are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.