The Christian and “the Good Life” - Part 1

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

I have a close friend who’s motto is, “I am easily satisfied with the very best.”  While this is funny, he is, actually.  Aren’t we all?  I do not know about you, but I would rather delight in quality than strive to convince myself that what I am enjoying is “just as good.”

This Christmas I travelled with my wife and adult children to Chicago.  We celebrated the season in a nice hotel, eating well and shopping for a few days - a dream come true for us all.  We are not rich.  We saved for an entire year, shopped for deals for the hotel and plane tickets and lived “the good life” for five days.

This wonderful experience, for which I am grateful to God, caused me to consider the ramifications of leisure, vacations, comfort, pleasure, rest and the Christian life.  These considerations forced me to see both excess and want, grateful enjoyment of God’s goodness and the love of pleasure to surfeit.  I saw homelessness and high society on display daily.  As I enjoyed Chicago’s Magnificent Mile and the Gold Coast, I heard the groans of poverty and the rhapsody of materialism sounding forth in one cacophonous appeal for recognition.


The sensory overload of it all set me to thinking of “the good life” and what that entails in light of scripture.  We know that rest is a good thing.  From the beginning, God set an example for man to work for six days and rest for one, to cease from his labor for a season, weekly (Ge. 2:1-3; Ex. 16:22-26; 20:8-11).  Jesus invited all those who are “heavy laden” to come to him and find rest (Mt. 11:28-30).  Rest is a good thing, a needed thing.  In Genesis 18, three men - one of which is the Lord Himself - pay Abraham a visit.  In a near frantic effort to be hospitable to them, Abraham said, “Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.  And I will fetch a morsel of bread and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on…” (vv. 4, 5).

Exodus 23:12 associates rest with being “refreshed.”  Rest in the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary includes some fourteen variations, the most notable being, (1) Cessation of movement or action of any kind; (2) Quiet repose; a state free from motion or disturbance; and the contextual alternative, (3) That which is left (i.e. the rest).  Mark 6:31 identifies rest with leisure (the one time leisure is found in the KJB), which means, “freedom from occupation; convenience of time.”

So, we understand that to rest in the sense of taking time for one’s self might include stillness, quietness, cessation of effort, leisure, eating, drinking as well as many other common comforts.  The important factor to bear in mind; however, is that we rest that we might be refreshed, that we might carry on with our work.  Rest enables us to “comfort” our hearts (Gen. 18:4-8), comfort meaning, “to strengthen; to invigorate.”  Charles Spurgeon said, “Rest time is not waste time.  It is economy to gather fresh strength…it is wisdom to take occasional furlough.  In the long run we shall do more by sometimes doing less.”  He said, “They who work most must rest most.”

So many of our struggles could be remedied, or at least ameliorated by taking some time to rest.  Much of our discouragements and depressions could be chalked up to fatigue.  Again, Spurgeon said, “Depression is a leak through which the soul’s force wastes itself drop by drop.”  Find some time to sleep.  Eat some good food.  Take a walk in the park or down a forrest trail.  But most of all, remember, “No man ever rested too long upon the bosom of Jesus” (Spurgeon).

Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


Post a Comment