The enjoyment of our lives gives God glory
as we thank Him for the goodness of each of our priceless days.
God always has a way of bringing a word to my heart that is so timely. This week it was no different. We recently had the wonderful grace gift of a family vacation which included my brother and sister and our families, (as well our parents who were able to join us for a couple of days). Although I’m hoping it becomes a biennial event, I’m mostly striving to be content and thankful for this rare time that everyone was able to be together for the one purpose of being together. We weren’t distracted by wedding details or gathered to say sad goodbyes to a loved one. We just gathered … to gather. And in that wonderful reality that was actually brought to fruition, I want to bask in the Lord’s grace with gratitude and joy.
Reflecting on this last week, I have been pondering the goodness of God. It’s so easy to credit Him with kindness when we are enjoying something as pleasure-filled as a family vacation. I can’t help but remember, though, the words contained in one of my favorite old hymns that say: He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure, gives unto each day what He deems best. Lovingly, it’s part of pain and pleasure, mingling toil with peace and rest.
As believers, we often confess to each other in seasons of blessing that “God is good all the time”. And sometimes we mean that He has demonstrated goodness toward us in giving us happy moments to enjoy. I confess that it takes much more of His strength to genuinely declare His goodness during times of difficulty and sorrow. But my acknowledgement of God’s goodness and kindness shouldn’t be focused on what He does for me as much as it is about Who He is! He IS kind. He IS good.
This past week was such a delight. The friendly interaction of my kids with their siblings and spouses; the cousins enjoying each other; aunts and uncles loving on nieces and nephews by tending to them even when they were not at their best; and last but not least, great-grandparents making sure that the Word of God took center stage of it all. These are memories that will not fade quickly. When I am sitting alone in a quiet house, the pictures etched in my mind will refresh me.
Priceless days indeed. Gifts from God to enjoy richly (1 Tim 6:17).
Certainly I want to shout out GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME.
And as I do, I must tell my soul this: If tomorrow morning you wake up and everything has changed, He’s still good. He’s still kind. He’s still worthy. He’s still enough.
I don’t want to need a vacation. I want to need Jesus.
I don’t want to desire lesser things like healing and ease and prosperity. I want to desire God’s glory.
I don’t want to rely on vacations to bring me joy. I want to rely on the Spirit of God to produce in me a joyful heart.
I don’t want to live expecting worldy pleasures to bring me lasting satisfaction, nor do I want to miss the mercies in disguise because of my own misguided pleasure seeking. Deep down, I want to be satisfied in God alone.
The point is this: I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished. For I might seek to set the truth before the unconverted, I might seek to benefit believers, I might seek to relieve the distressed, I might in other ways seek to behave myself as it becomes a
child of God in this world; and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit.
To clarify, I don’t believe for one minute that God is some cosmic killjoy waiting to siphon all the fun from our lives. I don’t believe He’s against a family taking a vacation. Nor do I think it’s unspiritual or unscriptural to spend some of our time and money on having fun. But as I look through pictures and smile because it’s a good memory, I don’t want to make a habit of trusting in temporary pleasure to bring me lasting satisfaction. Because it never will.
Most men are not satisfied with the permanent output of their lives.
Nothing can wholly satisfy the life of Christ within His followers except the adoption of Christ’s purpose toward the world He came to redeem. Fame, pleasure and riches are but husks and ashes in contrast with the boundless and abiding joy of working with God for the fulfillment of His eternal plans. The men who are putting everything into Christ’s undertaking are getting out of life its sweetest and most priceless rewards.
(J Campbell White)
What is God’s will and purpose for my life? Thankfulness. (1 Thess 5:18) Having a heart overflowing with thanks because it’s overwhelmed by God’s grace and peace is what I desire. Thankfulness produces a genuine heart of worship … and it is the best way to enjoy the pleasures of this life.
And today … I’m thankful.