The Good Life

I recently attended my high school reunion and had a great time connecting with old friends. Some of my classmates have chosen to retire early and live, as many of them described, “the good life.”

The use of this phrase by so many caused me to question, what is the good life? The phrase itself originally came from Aristotle and the Greek philosophers who debated what constitutes happiness. Not surprisingly, “the good life” is a very popular phrase in our culture today. I googled the phrase and 342 million entries came up. There were songs and movies, restaurants and bars, a rock band, books and seminars, and an upscale barber shop called The Good Life.

But what is “the good life?” What does the phrase mean to you and me? Before the time of Aristotle and the Greek philosophers, ancient Israel had its own expressions of the good life. Perhaps the most beautiful expression of the good life is found in Psalm 23 – probably the most familiar and beloved of all the psalms in the Hebrew scriptures: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” It is a simple but radical statement that we can trust God with our lives. God will provide. In a consumer culture that teaches us to want and to need many things, it’s counter cultural to hear the psalmist say, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing.” But rather than trusting first in ourselves and our efforts to secure our future, the psalm declares that we can trust God for the future.

The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus, the shepherd of God, came as an expression of God’s love for us. In the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection, he offers us the good life. Whatever our situation in life, God is there. We can live in a place of deep inner trust and peace – a peace that doesn’t depend on external things, but a peace that comes from God. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” I am the good shepherd … My sheep hear my voice … and they follow me. I give them life …”

Pastor MacLean