Summary: If you want to savor your life, choose to enjoy God’s delights, then learn to embrace God’s discipline.
From his hospital bed on the eve of open-heart surgery, Pastor Bruce McIver asked his cardiologist, Dr. Dudley Johnson, “Can you fix my heart?”
The physician, known for being short and to the point, said, “Sure.” Then he quickly turned and walked away.
Following the 12-hour surgery, McIver asked Johnson, “In light of the blocked arteries that I had when I checked into the hospital, how much blood supply do I now have?”
“All you'll ever need,” replied the terse surgeon, who again ended the conversation by walking away.
Upon his discharge from the hospital, McIver's wife, Lawanna, asked the doctor, “What about my husband's future quality of life?”
Johnson paused and then said, “I fixed his heart; the quality of his life is up to him” (Bruce McIver, “Stories I Couldn't Tell While I Was a Pastor,” Guideposts, 1991, p. 244-247; www.PreachingToday.com)
What about YOUR future quality of life? Well, first, you need to let God fix your heart. Trust Christ with your life and give your heart to Jesus. Then, after God has fixed your heart, think about what you need to do to improve the quality of your life? Think about what you need to do to savor the days God gives you? Think about what you need to do to find pleasure in life?
So, what do you need to do? Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Genesis 29, Genesis 29, where Jacob takes his first steps in savoring his new life after his first encounter with God.
Genesis 29:1 Then Jacob went on his journey and came to the land of the people of the east. (ESV)
The Hebrew literally says, “Jacob picked up his feet and came to the land of the people of the east.” Jacob had just met with God, who fixed his heart. His heavy burden had been lifted, and now he is walking with a lighter step. His fear has been turned to joy, and he can’t wait to see what God has for him in this “land of the people of the east.”
Genesis 29:2 As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep lying beside it, for out of that well the flocks were watered. The stone on the well’s mouth was large... (ESV)
I.e., too large for one average man to move.
Genesis 29:3 ...and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place over the mouth of the well. (ESV)
They had to wait for everybody to get there, because it took more than one man to move the stone.
Genesis 29:4-6 Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where do you come from?” They said, “We are from Haran.” He said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?” They said, “We know him.” He said to them, “Is it well with him?” They said, “It is well; and see, Rachel his daughter is coming with the sheep!” (ESV)
Isn’t that amazing? Jacob just happens to run into some shepherds who are from Haran, the town he was told to find (Genesis 27:43; 28:2). They just happen to know Laban, the man he is looking for, and he just happens to run into his future wife. What a coincidence! Right? Oh no! You and I both know that God was directing Jacob’s steps. God had providentially brought Jacob to the place He wanted him to be, and Jacob is wild with excitement.
Genesis 29:7 He said, “Behold, it is still high day; it is not time for the livestock to be gathered together. Water the sheep and go, pasture them.” (ESV)
In other words, “Get done what you came to do and get out of here.” You see, Jacob wants to meet the girl without an audience, but these shepherds are not about to miss the show.
Genesis 29:8 But they said, “We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.” (ESV)
They know Jacob is mesmerized by the girl coming down the path, and they’re not about to miss out on this budding romance. It’s probably the most exciting thing they’ve seen in months.
Genesis 29:9-10 While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. Now as soon as Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, Jacob came near and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. (ESV)
All by himself, Jacob moves the stone that most men couldn’t move by themselves. What’s he doing? Isn’t it obvious? He’s trying to impress the girl with his strength. Jacob is in love!