Posts Tagged ‘eat drink and be merry’

I can’t quite believe it. This week, we celebrated a special birthday in our family, albeit in different times and places, for COVID reasons. Our oldest child turned fifty. Yes—fifty! She looks nothing like that age, which makes it even more unbelievable for me. Anyway, how could I have a fifty-year-old daughter? Such a thing simply cannot be possible, at least not quite yet—could it?

Fifty years seems such a long time, in one way. Yet, in another, it feels as if those years have flown. In that time, our daughter has lived in many different places and done many different things. She has faced difficult challenges too, particularly health-wise, yet here she still is, determined to keep moving on in life, still ready to try new things and take risks, as she steps into a further phase of her journey. Yes, our daughter is a very capable, compassionate and courageous woman who tries her best at everything she does. It is a joy to honour her as we celebrate, yet this milestone has certainly caused me to reflect on my own life too.

Only weeks after our daughter was born, we moved interstate. Around two years later, a son was added to our family and we moved interstate again, this time to South Australia, where another daughter eventually joined our family. We lived near the beach at beautiful Victor Harbor, a wonderful place for our young children to grow up. A brief stint in Adelaide followed, then we were on the move again, back to Sydney to another ministry role at a local church. In this time, I decided to return to study to gain my teaching diploma and, when another move across Sydney followed, I was able to teach and thus help buy our own home. Season by season, God unfolded the next thing for me, often in such unexpected ways, and I am so grateful. Later, I took on an editing role, then a secretarial role and finally a ministry role, after gaining a theology degree. And when that concluded, my wonderful adventure of writing and speaking began.

Over the years, we can pack so much into our lives. And in the midst of it all, sometimes it’s easy to forget the bigger picture, isn’t it? In reality, our time here on earth is a mere speck when compared to eternity. Surely then, that means I need to hold onto things more lightly than I tend to do? And surely it also means I need to use my time here well and share the love of God with others however I can? I often think of Jesus’ parable about the rich man who built bigger barns to store his grain and other goods in so he could take life easy and ‘eat, drink and be merry’ (Luke 12:13-21). Of course, this doesn’t mean we don’t provide for the future or celebrate happy times together. But, as Jesus tells us, it does mean we need to be wise in the way we live.

Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God. Luke 12:21 NLT  

Let’s continue to live life to the full. But let’s treasure that rich relationship with God that lasts for eternity above everything else.

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I have had some sober reminders this past little while of how uncertain life is for all of us.  Yesterday I discovered that a friend has been diagnosed with a particular form of cancer that will be very difficult and painful to treat.  I hope and pray she will pull through and that her upcoming operation will be successful – but suddenly, life has changed for her and her family.

Then two weeks ago, a friend of my son and daughter-in-law passed away, aged only thirty-five.  She had gone into hospital for a routine foot operation, but while there, a clot formed – and she died with doctors around her.

Truly, none of us knows what tomorrow will bring – and this is exactly what James, the brother of Jesus, wrote about in his very practical letter to the early believers.  This is what he says:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:13-14)

Is that how you view your life?  As a vanishing mist – as something that is so insubstantial and fleeting?  This thought could be scary.  It could paralyse us with fear.  Or it could cause us to decide that if life’s as fleeting as that, then we should enjoy it while we can.  We should ‘eat, drink and be merry’ and do it with gusto and with little concern for anyone else except ourselves, because otherwise we might miss out.

And yet this thought could have a different effect on us.  It could spur us on to live life in a much more positive and pro-active way – to do what God wants us to do and to reach out to others in whatever way we have been gifted.  Tomorrow the opportunity might not be there.  Tomorrow the person we could have helped or encouraged in their journey might have completed it.  Tomorrow we ourselves might no longer be in a place where we can offer any more help to anyone.

James actually goes on to say that we do wrong to others and ‘miss the mark’ entirely in our lives if we choose to ignore what God is calling us to do.  He writes:

Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. (James 4:17)

Do you know the good you ‘ought to do’?  Are you doing it?  Let’s act while we can – before the mist vanishes.

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