I’ve come to realize that all good things in life, even the simple things, are gifts from God. When my wife and I went to Ottawa on vacation, I truly started to understand what this means for my relationship with God. 

We spent the day touring the War Museum, then hurried down to Parliament Hill, where we met our MP and toured around West Block. Next on the agenda was Question Period, which I’d wanted to see for so long. After Parliament, we saw the Notre Dame Basilica in Bytown, and were wowed by the beautiful architecture. The tour guide said we made her day, with our jaws hanging off our heads in awe. Our last stop that evening was the beautiful Tulip Festival. 

 After a full day of activities, I felt so grateful during my evening prayer. As I was praying, I had a bit of an epiphany: 

“Today, everything was a gift from God! He loves me, and he wanted to give me those experiences.” 

I gave thanks to God, realizing the gift of these seemingly “non-spiritual” events. 

The only explicitly spiritual event of the day had been my time of prayer. But I felt drawn into deeper communion with God because of these experiences, and perceived them as a gift. 

Why does God give us good gifts?

I believe the goal of life is to be in communion with God. So God gives us gifts to draw us closer to him and help us experience the good life he has for us. 

The good life

What is the good life? 

Sitting on the porch with a cup of coffee, overlooking the lake, and reading a good book: that’s my idea of the good life! 

Maybe for you, it’s your dream job, having a beautiful family in a nice big house, leaving for the weekend with the BMW.  For others, the good life may be playing board games with friends, eating at your favourite restaurant, or enjoying beautiful music. The list could go on and on. But I’m sure you have your own good life in mind.

In a way, all of these things are the good life, but they aren’t quite the full picture. The good life is more than all the things we can imagine our life to be, since these things are temporary. What exactly is THE good life, then? 

The good life is simply enjoying communion with God, a deep friendship with the divine. 

The good life is seeing and enjoying my lakeside cup of coffee as a gift from God and an opportunity to commune with him. Having the dream job and big family is the good life if it is enjoyed as God’s gift and a means to enjoy fellowship with him. 

The good life is simply enjoying communion with God, a deep friendship with the divine.

Whatever your idea of the good life is, it is only the good life if God is enjoyed through it. 

Human beings were created to be in communion with God, and he desires to be in communion with us. From the very beginning of the Bible in Genesis to the end in Revelation, God is seeking to bring his people together in his presence and bring the good life from heaven to earth. The Scriptures show us that the good life is knowing God and being known by God. 

The pleasures of this life will fade away. 

We grow older. 

Our big houses wear down. 

The BMW stops working. 

The cup of coffee, sadly, will run out. 

Even after all things come to an end, communion with God remains possible. God is always with us, ready for us to reach out to him. We are called to view all things as gifts from God, and to draw near to him with thankfulness. But when the gift replaces the Giver, the good life is far out of sight. Pleasurable moments and fun experiences are mere shadows of the good life without God at the centre. 

The good life is built on having God at our life’s core, and placing all other things below him, not as a replacement for God. 

God’s gifts

“The gifts of God for the people,” I hear my priest proclaim every Sunday when we partake in Holy Communion. I love hearing these words. During this moment, I remember and receive Christ as God’s gift for my salvation and ongoing Christian life. In the act of eating bread and drinking wine, I enact the communion I share with God through Jesus—and truly partake in the good life. 

By hearing the story of salvation retold, I remember that Jesus came to reverse our tendency to replace the gift with the Giver. The reason for Jesus as God’s gift is clear: the vision of the good life cannot be attained by humans, apart from God’s intervention. 

Through God’s perfect gift, Jesus, we are able to take life’s pleasures and place them in their proper order, with God at the top, and everything else as instruments for his glory and our communion with him. Through Jesus, we can truly experience the good life. 

From heaven Jesus came down to be received by all who would receive him, and he lived an earthly life, partaking in “ordinary” activities. He went to a wedding, and apparently enjoyed wine! Meals were shared between him and his disciples. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say he had a good laugh once in a while.

Jesus knew how to enjoy life, because he is truly human and truly God. 

When we receive Christ and are made friends with God, we still have to live our life. Only through Jesus are we able to receive “ordinary” things as God’s gift. They are gifts because they are a means to commune with God. 

 Eyes to see 

When we see God’s gifts reflected in our lives, it changes what we look at. That’s why:

 “Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”

Philippians 4:8

When we experience truth or justice, we receive a gift from God. When we experience something that is lovely or beautiful, we receive a gift from God. Why? Because God is true, honourable, just, pure, lovely, excellent, and worthy of praise. When we find God’s character around us, reflected in our world,  each other, our jobs, or in our hobbies, we will discover his gifts. 

Let the one who has eyes to see: see! Receive God’s great gift named Jesus so that all of life will become a wonderful gift from God too. 

May you gratefully receive God’s gifts, whether on a rainy day at home, or on vacation in Ottawa, anticipating the great life yet to come.

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About the Author

Perry Siddons

Perry is a deacon in the Anglican Church, a travelling preacher, and a student at Briercrest College and Seminary in Caronport, SK. He is married to Andrea, and lives in Saskatoon. He writes periodically at www.perrysiddons.com.

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