This is good and fitting: eat, drink and enjoy yourself in all your labor under the sun during the few years of your life which God has given you; for this is your portion, God’s gift. Thus you will not often consider the years of your life, because God keeps you occupied with the gladness of your heart. Ecclesiastes 5:18–20
To balance all the aphorisms that teach us the value of “beginning with the end in view,” God also says that it is entirely appropriate to celebrate the success of today. Amazingly, he does not contradict himself when he does this. If we are wise, we will plan ahead, count the cost, budget our resources, and delay gratification, so that we can enjoy the long-term benefits of such a lifestyle. And, if we are wise, we will also remember that no matter how we plan, God disposes our affairs according to his plan. The whole of our lives is a gift from God, which he gives it to us one moment at a time. Therefore “redeeming the time” includes using it to increase his investment in us tenfold and stopping to “smell the roses” along the way. This is the secret to contentment: endeavoring to enjoy the now of life as we prepare for the future. Trusting the Lord enough to actually make this effort glorifies his wisdom and power in our daily life, and keeps our present level of joy high as we anticipate the receipt of his future grace.
Sovereign Lord, I know how easy it is for me to force my life to conform to my plans, rather than to enjoy life as my portion from you. Convince me of the truth of your promise. Amen.
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