It was a few years ago. I was at Missions Fest here in Vancouver, an annual trade-fair of sorts for missions and Christian organizations. I’d been wandering the hall where dozens and dozens of booths were showcasing the multiple opportunities for global outreach and ministry.

At one booth (I can’t remember now which organization it was) they were asking people passing by to quote them a Bible verse. As I stood face to face with this young man, a number of Bible verses flashing through my mind, I quickly settled on this one and quoted it for him,

“Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.”

He reacted as though I’d hit him. Stunned and slightly reeling back a few seconds passed as he stared at me in disbelief. He had obviously never read this verse from Ecclesiastes 9:7

Now, to be honest, it was the exact reaction I’d expected for it had basically been my own reaction when I first came across that verse a few years earlier.

The thing is, we think we have God figured out. We’ve got our nice little Christian lives and the parameters and boundary lines, the do’s and the don’ts, the good and the bad, all figured out. Our defences are clear, our arguments are strong, our fears are well documented, we are on guard.

And then, a verse like this pops up out of nowhere and we have no neat and tidy place in which to put it. Our minds scramble to make sense of it.

And if we are honest, our hearts have no idea what to do with this either. We are used to pinched expectations, not expansive generosity. We are used to narrow rules, not bounty of acceptance. We are used to watching our backs, not abandoned celebration.

But this verse, these few simple words, bring us face to face with our own hearts and the scarcity and hollowness and drought found there. We simply do not expect our God to be accepting of us. In fact, we expect just the opposite.

Believing still in an angry God that we must appease has us living distorted lives. False lives. Tired lives.

“Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.”


If 2014 was to be marked by anything may it be marked by the essence found there; in other words:

“Enjoy and celebrate what you have. Rejoice in the bounty and good pleasures of family and life and the every day that I have wired you for; enter into your meaningful work settled in your ability and comfortable in God’s good hand on you. He loves you mightily, with a fierce passion and with unending devotion. Never lose sight of this.”

How might this change our lives?

How might this transform how we do this next year?


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