The Christian and “the Good Life” - Final Thoughts

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Thoughts of profound gratitude, prompted by a wonderful Christmas vacation with my family in Chicago, led me to write these few blogs on the questions concerning the Christian and pleasure, leisure and enjoyment.   Should the Christian pursue experiences simply for the enjoyment of them? How much is too much? We have concluded that God is interested in our enjoyment of the benefits that He provides (1 Tim. 6:17; Jm. 1:17, 18; Ecc. 5:18-19; Ps. 34:8; et al.).  As in Keach’s Catechism of 1677, “Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”  Enjoying God would certainly include a grateful celebration of those things which He provides.

We could not conclude a discussion of this nature; however, without pointing out the peril of pursuing, living for, pleasure.  Proverbs 21:17 says, “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man…” Luke 8:14 speaks of those who “…are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life…”  1 Timothy warns of the woman who “liveth in pleasure” as being “dead while she liveth,” and in 2 Timothy 3:4 are those who are found to be “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”  Living in and serving pleasure is identified as the lifestyle of the unconverted (Tit. 3:3-5; Jm. 5:5), not the redeemed.  The key to the conundrum would seem to be a matter of priority.  Those who love pleasures more than they love God, will allow the pursuit of pleasure to lure beyond the boundaries of Christian propriety.  All pleasures; however, are not worldly (1 Jn. 2:15-17).  Thus, if rightly ordered, these pleasures are perfectly acceptable to enjoy as a gift from God.  Remember Psalm 35:27, “Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant” (emphasis mine).  Favor God’s cause, magnify Him, prioritize worship over pleasure and you are on the right path to enjoying “the good life” without regret.

Final Observations From Our Family Vacation

  1. While the architecture, avenues and art galleries of a world city are elevating in their ability to inspire, there’s no place like home.

The Lord has allowed me to live in beautiful Lawrence County, Alabama, within sight of the Bankhead National Forest.  We love this quiet community and its people.  The memories we have already made in our renovated single-wide on two acres of majestic oaks and a red barn, are priceless.  This small town of Moulton is a special blessing to us.  Parkway Baptist Church is our life and our heart is here.  It is good to be home.

  1. While the rare extravagances we allow ourselves in the special moments of life are gratifying, it is hard to beat life’s everyday blessings.

In this world in which we live, there is no shortage of wonders and amusements.  I enjoy life.  I think we should.  I enjoy traveling and taking in the sundry scenes and cultural variety that it affords.  I love the cities, the buildings, the neighborhoods, the food and the people.  I love the big woods and coastlines of Maine, the vastness and variety of New York City, the brawny, determination of Chicago, the vivid character of the midwest, the rugged soul of the south, the independence of Texas and the “cool factor” of southern California.  I enjoy a great chop house, rich sauce and pastas, fresh breads, Wiener Schnitzel, pizza in Chicago AND New York, beef on weck in Buffalo and the list goes on.

I enjoy used bookstores, small towns, coffee shops, mountain streams, and shopping from the Smoky Mountain Knife Works to the Beverly Hills Barney’s.  I am inspired by the music halls, symphonies, museums, art galleries, historic sites and parks all over America, but when it is all said and done, let me go home.

I am always happy at home.  I am abundantly grateful for my wife who makes it the place to be, my kids who make it worth it and the memories that live there.  I love my chair, my television, my coffee, my remote control, my front porch and my bed.  These things all make home…sweet - the place where the good stuff is found.  A fresh tomato sandwich on white bread and a cold Diet Coke will often rival aged beef and creamed spinach.  I love my old truck, a canoe, a good book, a sharp Case knife, a well-tuned guitar, cotton fields, trees in bloom or turning in the fall, wooden bridges on gravel roads - all the simple pleasures that make home a place of thanksgiving.  Thank you, Lord.  You have been so good to me.


A vacation is enhanced when it is not something that you “live for.”  When you know that going home and getting back to work will be a blessing, your time away is that much better.  Dream of better things, set some goals, work toward them, but rejoice in what you have today.  Enjoy the simple pleasures, the presence of family, the blessing of a local church and the work that God has given you to do.  When you are afforded the opportunity, enjoy some of the finer things of life, “the good life” that is.  Do so with gratitude, knowing that everyday-fare is pretty special.
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