“Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens…” Those might be familiar lyrics from Julie Andrew in the Sound of Music when she sang to the children of good things in the midst of a thunderstorm to calm their troubled spirits. Thinking good thoughts, however, is insufficient to change the outcome of a situation, but in the midst of life’s troubles it is a pleasing thing to rejoice in the little things the Lord brings the believer’s way.
That is the wisdom of Ecclesiastes:
…that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. (Eccl 3:13; c.f. 5:18–20, 7:14a, 8:15, 9:7–9, 11:9).
The believer is not guaranteed blessed ease in this life (though we easily fall prey to believing the prosperity lie); finding meaning in pleasure is a vain mist, wishful thinking, like chasing after the wind. But we can rejoice in God’s grace and goodness that He does send us in the midst of life’s troubles. We cannot control them, they are not guaranteed (we certainly don’t deserve them), but when they come, we can enjoy them as a gift from God.
The Christian life is often described as a pilgrimage. The journey is not the destination. Along the way to heaven, like a trip, there will be hills and wild animals and snowstorms, but there will also be panoramic views, still streams and sweet meadows. Total trust in the Lord enables us to be content in suffering and free to enjoy the blessings we do receive.
So the next time you hear a beautiful piece of music, behold a masterful sunset, have a cherished moment with your child, sip a good cup of tea, smell a fragrant flower, share in a good meal with friends, experience a warm summer’s rain or a beam of sunshine on your face, take a pleasant walk, hold your spouse’s hand, feel a quilts warm embrace, read a good book, take a trip down memory lane, enjoy the comfort of home in a snowstorm, savour a fireside chat or receive a letter from a friend—don’t simply “remember my favourite things”—delight in the gift that the Gift Giver has given you, and give Him thanks.
 Ecclesiastes very much speaks wisdom to everyone, and in His common grace, God gives unbelievers tender mercies too, however, central to accessing the wisdom Ecclesiastes’ offer is “the fear of the Lord” and hence why I have the believer in view here.
 Ecclesiastes actually sees God as the ultimate author of even our hardships. See Eccl 7:13 and 14. Rather than feeling like life (and God) are less than our troubles, when we see He has ordained them, we rest in a trust in Him and thus are freed to submit to His good purposes in them.
In lieu of a 5MM on July 25, because of a longer sermon, it is being posted here.
This week’s PC 5MM is Hospitality.
Φιλόξενος in the Greek (φιλό/ξενος- to love strangers)
Oxford defines the word as, “The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors and strangers.”
Once it was seen as a common place duty amongst the ancients. Today hedonistic individualism and isolationism has almost driven it out of our vocabulary.
Yet for the Christian, this is what we are commanded:
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Pet 4:9, c.f. 1 Ti 3:2; Tit 1:8)
We might not all have the gift of hospitality but we can be hospitable and this demonstrates our love (as we entertain angels unawares), changing someone’s flat tire, helping someone cross the street, giving those who’ve lost their home in a fire use of your trailer. Hospitality is a powerful witness in deed of our faith, and an opportunity to verbally share our faith.
Hospitality isn’t just something we show to unbelievers, but amongst believers too.
I remember once in one of my churches, which met in a physically small space, one family who sat in the back pew never in twelve years having said hello to the family who sat in the front pew! This should not be! Talk to people at church, welcome newcomers—show hospitability. Invite people over for a meal, get together, do things together (like Jesus did)—fellowship! It builds trust, is edifying and enables us to accomplish our mission. If we can’t love our brother, how will we be ready and able to love our neighbour or stranger?
There are lonely people, even Christians, who need the love God has shown us, so pretty please, show hospitality!
Check out two recent sermons Pastor Chris preached at other churches:
July 11- A Faith that is Your Own, 2 Chr 24:2, 15-19
July 18- Elijah, Idolatry, Youth Gangs and the Bears, 2 Ki 2:23-25 [starts at 21:00]
I love the Lord’s Day (Sunday). In the midst of the busyness of life, it is an anchor in the storm, a gift from the Lord to pause for worship, rest and family. As a Christian it is at the centre of my week and schedule; that which everything else revolves around. On it we declare Christ in a unique way and benefit from all its blessings.
Summertime, vacations, etc, even business travel, can throw our weekly rythme off, but I’d encourage you to build the Lord’s Day into all of your travels, whether they be for pleasure or business. This is what I do. I hope in sharing these that they may help you spend a profitable Lord’s Day this summer, or any time.
If one has the inclination, the Lord’s Day will always be profitable, even when you’re away. So have a safe and happy summer, and don’t forget to pack Jesus when you go.
Author: Chris Crocker
Pastor, historian and beekeeper.