Alistair Begg Devotional

Alistair Begg Devotional Enjoying Life Under the Sun

Enjoying Life Under the Sun

Enjoying Life Under the Sun

There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.

None of us, of course, are guaranteed to know the date of our death. But we know something just as certain: unless Christ returns first, that day will come. Until then, Scripture says, we will inhabit a creation that is subject to futility, with evil around us, sin within us, and chaos seeming to prevail more often than not. We will see the wicked prosper and the godly struggle. These truths are poignantly expressed in the words of the Preacher of Ecclesiastes: “There is a vanity that takes place on earth.”

By itself, that observation could send us into a spiral of sorrow, sullenness, and despair. But the writer of Ecclesiastes does not leave us there. Instead, he makes a rather surprising recommendation: “I commend joy … to eat and drink and be joyful.” Observation: life is unmanageable. Recommendation: enjoy life’s simple pleasures!

How can anyone know genuine enjoyment of such pleasures when life is futile and unjust and comes with an expiration date? This is something that is only possible for those who know the truth. We can freely and guiltlessly enjoy the pleasures God gives because we know God; indeed, it honors the Giver of such gifts to enjoy what He gives. The apostle Paul describes God as the one “who richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). The fact that simple pleasures offer no ultimate satisfaction does not mean they offer no satisfaction. It is knowing that there is life beyond the sun that frees us to enjoy our life “under the sun.” As the hymn writer puts it:

Heav’n above is softer blue,
Earth around is sweeter green;
Something lives in every hue
Christless eyes have never seen.[1]

When was the last time you asked someone, “Are you enjoying yourself?” When did you last ask yourself that question? It is a good, Christian thing to ask! We know both that the world is broken and that every good gift comes from God. So honor Him by enjoying your next cup of coffee, your next day with your spouse, your next day at work, the next thing that makes you smile, as a gift from Him. He’s given these blessings to you for your God-honoring enjoyment, so that you can say with the psalmist, “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

Questions for Thought

How is God calling me to think differently?

How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?

What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?

Further Reading

Some Will Depart from the Faith

1Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

A Good Servant of Christ Jesus

6If you put these things before the brothers,1 you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. 7Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 10For to this end we toil and strive,2 because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

11Command and teach these things. 12Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15Practice these things, immerse yourself in them,3 so that all may see your progress. 16Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Open in Bible
1 4:6 Or brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to men or to both men and women who are siblings (brothers and sisters) in God's family, the church
2 4:10 Some manuscripts and suffer reproach
3 4:15 Greek be in them
1 Wade Robinson, “I Am His, and He Is Mine” (1876).

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.

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