God Is Good!
1 Timothy 6:17-18
One wag along the theological way has defined a Puritan as a person who lays awake at night in fear that someone, somewhere, might be having a good time! Anyone who knows anything of the Puritans realizes this is a caricature not worthy of perpetuating. But that person will also acknowledge how such a reputation might have arisen.
The Puritan movement arose during the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603) in England. Elizabeth succeeded the Catholic Mary I and reestablished Protestantism in England. But while the House of Commons established a Protestant National Church, many Protestant Christians were disappointed with the extent of the reforms under Elizabeth. They sought to “purify” the church in England from what they considered unbiblical customs and liturgies inherited from the medieval church. They placed great emphasis on personal regeneration and sanctification (holiness), household prayers and Bible reading, public preaching and teaching, the training of evangelical ministers, and personal morality. While no one could argue against these principles as priorities for the church, they became misconstrued through the years—especially the emphasis on personal holiness.
Whether one is a Pharisee, a Puritan, or a plain Christian, it is easy to legalize our relationship with God—especially when dealing with material possessions. Along with purifying our lives from sin, we are tempted to think that divesting ourselves from money and the legitimate pleasures it affords will make us more holy. But Paul’s words counsel us otherwise. God, he says, has richly provided us with everything for our enjoyment. He accents this picture of God’s liberality with two contrasting brush strokes: First, don’t hope in money, for it is uncertain. Only God is certain. Second, be generous with what you have so that others may know God’s liberality as well.
With this perspective (consistent with Puritanism, by the way) no one should go through life with a long face. God is good! His generous promise to us is that he meets our every need, including the need to enjoy our life on this earth. Are you enjoying your life today? It’s God’s will that you do—so look around you for that which he has given you to enjoy.
God’s Promise to You: “Nothing gives me greater joy than your enjoyment of what I have given you.”