This “Enjoy by” was on a box of donuts sitting on the table in a nurses break room at the hospital this morning. It caused me to think about all the things we wait to enjoy or forget to enjoy or just don’t enjoy. Well, we could just eat the whole box right now and get it over with. That’s just 2,000 empty or saturated fat calories, no problem, right? We could just say no and let someone else enjoy them or not have anyone eat them. Like an old Karl Reiner routine, you could just lacquer them up and frame them for a wall decoration. Are you enjoying life? Do you have a “bucket list,” or is that just for other people? You know we don’t know if we have tomorrow.
James 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. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them” (James 4:13-17). Wow! Now there is a tough thought, we are a mist or a vapor, gone in an instant. We can’t count on today or tomorrow. It is not about you and your plans. I just watched a movie about a woman who planned everything out so she would not be surprised. I did say it was a movie, right? You see, life just happens and we are not in control of it. We never were and we never will be in control of it.
I know that some think that they are captain of their ship, good luck with that. You are going down. “Not even God could sink this ship,” was perhaps my favorite quote from the Titanic builders. It’s even worse than the pompous captain of a battleship steaming full-speed ahead and commanding an obstacle in his way to move that just happened to be a lighthouse.
Live your life today. You do not necessarily have tomorrow. I wrote this on my own brothers “auspicious” birthday. He has been fatalistically thinking that he would not outlive our father. I am not sure from where his superstitions grew. Black cats and four leaf clovers are about bad luck or good luck. There is not such a thing. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). Life is ordained by God. He has also given us free will or choice. He has said, “Choose life.” In this choosing I also choose “joy.”
I want to live each day to the fullest, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). Wisdom comes from God; there is no other source. There is knowledge and education, but wisdom comes from living for and in the truth of God. God in Christ Jesus told His disciples when He was ascending to heaven to “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). This is saying, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). This is our purpose as Christians, to go and tell the “Good News.” Not everyone is an evangelist, but everyone is to share the Word. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6). So as you go through life, live it with “gusto” and full of joy and God’s grace.
I don’t know what God has for you. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). These works are uniquely designed for each of us. God has gifted each of us with talents and skills and spiritual gifts for the edification or benefit of the church. That’s why we live.
I am teaching at a large men’s conference on the subject of retirement. What does God have to say about it? God talks of work some 700 times, but only once of retirement and of that- No! What might you say? I am so looking forward to retire and do nothing? Well, that’s not the life God has for us. He wants us to keep going in His power to do the works that He has already prepared for us. This does not mean for pay or with the same or any employer other than God.
So get to it. Enjoy by- today. Get going and be joyful in all things including trials as James tells us. God is developing us to maturity with perseverance so that we can keep working for Him. He is no slave driver. If we are doing His will with the gifts He has given us, our calling, we will enjoy it. By the way, we will have jobs in heaven if we make it.
Nehemiah said, “The joy of the Lord is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Yes as 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us, “His power is being made perfect in our weakness.” In other words, just keep going like the “energizer bunny,” as God is our battery. God’s servant Caleb kept working after 85 to take the lands from the enemies.
So what do you enjoy? There is a good chance that if it is in God’s will that that is what He wants you to do and enjoy. And if it is enjoyable then do it now to the glory of God. Our expiration date is not known or predictable by any doctor or sage, only God the Father in heaven. So make it a good day and enjoy it now.