This is good and fitting: eat, drink and enjoy yourself in all your labor under the sun during the few years of your life which God has given you; for this is your portion. … This is the gift of God. Thus you will not often consider the years of your life, because God keeps you occupied with the gladness of your heart. Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
To balance all the aphorisms that teach us the value of “beginning with the end in view,” God also promises us joy if we will live as though tomorrow will never come. Amazingly, he does not contradict himself when he does this. If we are wise, we will plan ahead, count the cost, budget our resources, and delay gratification, so that we enjoy the benefits of such a lifestyle. And, if we are wise, we will also remember that no matter how we plan, God disposes our affairs according to his plan. Therefore “redeeming the time” includes using it to increase our talent tenfold and stopping to “smell the roses” along the way. This is the secret to contentment: We must remember to enjoy the now of life as we prepare for the future. Trusting the Lord enough to actually do this glorifies his wisdom and power in our daily life, and keeps our present level of joy high as we anticipate the receipt of his future grace.
Sovereign Lord, I know how easy it is for me to force my life to conform to my plans, rather than to enjoy life as my portion from you. Convince me of the truth of your promise. Amen.