Contentment, Pleasure and Rest. Living in the NOW.

For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.” (Ecclesiastes 5: 18-20)

“Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God.”

This is a great privilege and joy – to sail through life under God’s blessing.

That doesn’t mean we won’t have any worries, or that everything will be perfect. We have to wait for heaven for that!

But when we are in the lovely stream of God’s blessing, there is an engagement with life that carries us along in the flow. We enjoy the daily routines, confidently and productively working towards the next challenge, investing week by week in ongoing progress for ourselves and for others.

Our life develops as a wonderful tapestry of blessings great and small, daily and weekly contentment, month after month, year after year. We relish the familiar rhythms of rest and work. And the predictable, routine aspects of life are interspersed with those wonderful special moments – the hours, days, weeks of sheer pleasure and excitement. There are daily and weekly routines, and there are the big special events, all kept nicely in balance, God’s balance, as he continues to paint the unique picture of our individual and family life to his satisfaction.

We have the great blessing of living in the present and enjoying all (or nearly all) life has to offer us. We focus on present enjoyment as we engage with life under God’s blessing. If we do look back, it is with thankfulness because we can see God’s hand working across the years to make things fall into place for us. We are not hurt by nostalgia, because we have the great, ongoing blessing of enjoying the present. “He will not much remember the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.”

Each phase of life brings its uninterrupted supply of pleasurable engagements, with their rhythms of challenge and industry, rest and relaxation. In the midst of the ordinary, normal human life (which Ecclesiastes emphasizes) we are granted pleasure upon pleasure, sometimes ecstatically. There are the big special events, the unforgettable holidays, the times of special supernatural provision, the spectacular answers to prayer, the intense joys of church life and fellowship (e.g. special conferences and concerts – a foretaste of heaven); and the constant bliss and security of family life, the glorious earthly expression of the love God knew in his heavenly family before time was made, and wanted mankind to share it.

We enjoy the present – day to day, month to month, as year flows into year. We don’t worry about the future. We remember Jesus’ words that every “day” has its own challenges. The Here and Now is what we focus on. That is what we have grace for. This is where we find God’s help and provision – today. And we know that when tomorrow becomes “now”, he will still be with us, the same, omnipotent all-wise God who is our Father.

We don’t need to worry about the future. We can pray and find present help and provision (even if sometimes it may take a while for his answers to take effect and become evident). He is always with us. “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Phil. 4: 5-6). We can “cast all our anxieties on him, for he cares” for us (1 Peter 5:7).

It is an amazing privilege and blessing to enjoy this contented lifestyle under God’s blessing, with his leading, his help, his problem-solving, the constant unfolding of his plans of blessing in our lives, individually and in our families.

We remember, too, with a smile and a warm heart, that all these overflowing blessings in our worldly walk are a foretaste of the more amazing, breathtaking blessings to come.

We have the Holy Spirit in us as the deposit and guarantee of that future.

All this is possible through the death and life of Jeshua Ha-Mashiach.

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