“THE FACETS OF GOOD LIFE” By Pastor YAU
Text: Deuteronomy 8:11-20. March 25, 2012
1) The source of good snack: Writer Bill Crowder gave the following confession: I love cinnamon. I love cinnamon rolls, cinnamon candies, cinnamon graham crackers, cinna-mon toast, cinnamon pretzels and many others. Cinnamon is one of those spices that make other things taste better. However, it never crossed my mind to think about where cinnamon comes from. Until a recent trip to Sri Lanka (formerly called Cylon), I learned that 90 percent of all the cinnamon in the world comes from that island nation located on the south tip of India. For all the good snacks I enjoyed through the years, I never stopped to consider the source of them.
2) The source of good life: He continued to say: “Sadly, my walk with Christ is sometimes like that. God ahs blessed me with a wonderful wife, five children, and grandchildren who are more than a barrel of monkeys. In the midst of my joy of life with them, however, I fail to consider the source of those blessings.” James put it like this: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of light, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17) How ignorant and ungrateful we are when we enjoy the rich blessings of good life without think-ing and thanking of the Father who is the source of all His creation.
GOD AND GOOD LIFE:
1) God is good in nature: “Good and upright is the Lord.” (Ps. 25:8) The goodness of God is all through the Bible: His nature, his action, his purpose and his way of doing things. Everything about God is always good. In fact, the goodness of God is one of the major attributes of God.
2) God created all good things: “God saw everything he had made and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31) The phrase “God saw that it was good” is also repeated in 1:10 and 12. Our God had a good intention so he created all things good, “very good.” (1:31)
3) God blessed with good life: “Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundred fold because the Lord blessed him. The man became rich and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy.” (Genesis 26:12-13) This is only one of many instances that God blessed his people with good life. God did this to all the patriots started from Abraham, and kings like David and Solomon. God also blessed his people, Israelis, as recorded in the text today.
4) God is the source of good life: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly light.” (James 1:17) James wants us to recognize the source of good life, the Father of heavenly light, our God. James asked us not to boast about our good life because it is the gift from God.
MAN AND GOOD LIFE:
1) Men seek for good life: “Now listen, you who say: Today or tomorrow we will move to this city or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” (James 4:13) After 2,000 years, we still hear people say the same thing: moving and seeking for good life or better life. This is part of the human nature: we look for higher ground for life. To ordinary people, there is nothing wrong in seeking a better life, but to people of God, our goal should be following the will of God instead of ourselves.
2) Men toil for good life: “In vain you rise early and stay up late toiling for food to eat.” (Ps. 127:2)There are over 80 listings in the Bible on “labor” and “toiling”. Good life doesn’t drop from the sky. It takes the volume of your life, time, energy and concentration to make a good living. Many times, we do so much for a good life, but in the process, life was so hard.
3) Men brag about good life: “I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heat no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor.” (Lam. 2:10) No one had achieved more of good life than this king of Israel and few had devoted so much energy, treasure and labor to get it. From 2:4-9, he listed all the great things he had done for his good life. In every generation, we see high achievers people have so much of good life. They show off by their lavish life style. Often times we think they must be the happiest people. Here is what King Solomon said, “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gain under the sun.” (James 2:11)
4) Men blinded by good life: “Then, he said: This is what I will do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul: You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy: eat, drink and be merry.” (Luke 12:18-19) “Then God said to him: You fool! This very night, your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” (12:20)The pursuit of good life often times blinds the eyes and hearts of men on the value of life and eternity of the soul. So many people spent so much time, energy to pursue good life at the expense of their souls.
ENJOY GOOD LIFE THE RIGHT WAY: (Deut. 8:7-20)
1) God provided the environment. “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land; a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey. A land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing.” (Deut. 8:7-9) These words were spoken while the Israelis were still in the wilderness. God wanted his people to know that what he was leading them into was a place of abundant blessings. I don’t believe in prosperity theology, but I believe in the goodness and mercy of God. He will never allow his children be left hungry without his blessing of provision. God foretold them about the rich environment he was leading into so they could be sure of a good life. The environment we are in has so much to do if we are going to have a good life. No one can create an environment, except God provides it for us.
2) Don’t forget God in good life: “Be careful that you do not forget the lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Other-wise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied. Then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, the land of slavery.” (Deut. 8:11-14) Forgetting God in good life is a common shortfall of spiritual growth for many of God’s children. We tend to forget that all we have were gifts of God. We also tend to focus on our good life and we are slow or neglect to observe and obey the laws and decrees of God. The danger of good life is it could erode our spiritual quality on the inside when we have so much on the outside.
3) Don’t take all the credit for good life: “You may say to your-self: My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth and to confirm his covenant which he swore to your forefathers.” (8:17-18) This is another pothole on our spiritual growth when we have focus so much on good life: we tend to take credit, sometimes, most or all the credit of all we have done and achieved: I did it; I made it and I got it. With all the “I”, we take credit of all God’s blessing. Then we become proud, arrogant and despicable in the face of God and man.
4) Don’t feel too secured on good life: “If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.” (8:19-20) Besides God and his promises, nothing is forever in this world. As Job said years later, “The Lord gives and the Lord has taken away.” God is in total control in when, to whom and how much he is going to give his blessings for good life. Be careful to obey God, honor God follow his laws and decrees, and the Lord will keep you safe under his wings.
1) Count your blessings: Don’t look at others and feel that there are still things you want but don’t have. Count, make a list on a piece of paper or in your mind how much the Lord has blessed you for a good life. Be thankful to God and to those who made your life easy and successful. You certainly won’t get what you have if it were not the blessings of God and the good will of your friends.
2) Honor God in good times: Good life is not a right, it is a gift of God. The spirit of entitlement leads to greed and ungrateful. Be careful not to live your life dependent on your wealth. Continue to be humble before God and men and live a simple life instead of wasteful lavishing. Be faithful in tithing and support God’s work. Be generous to the needy in your society and people in your path. Share your heart and your wealth to meet their needs. Use your resource to help the poor and the needy to honor God.