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Meditations by John Dean

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Old Train

(Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 KJV) I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

This scripture is very comforting, particularly in light of the fact that so many believe that the Christian life is a boring cheerless life. The fact is...the Christian life is the most joyous life one can possibly have. God wants us to enjoy ourselves in spite of our difficulties, because when we do, we are practicing what we will spend eternity doing.

It is so important to see the roses in life and not just the thorns. I am not suggesting that life does not have an ample supply of ups and downs, but I am suggesting that it is up to us to decide how we are going to view them. If we only focus on the thorns of life then our experiences will reflect that. However, if our focus is on the roses of life then our experiences will reflect that as well.

To change our focus from the thorns of life to the roses of life we could begin by focusing on the simple pleasures of life. We can start by enjoying a beautiful sunset, the innocence of a baby, and a good laugh with a friend or going to bed with a full stomach. These are only a few of the simple pleasures of life that will help redirect our focus.

Growing up as a country boy in East Texas in the 40s and 50s and working hard on the farm taught all of us how to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

As for me...I enjoyed swimming in the creek, eating a fresh watermelon in the patch, riding my horse on a lazy Sunday afternoon or getting together with the families on the adjacent farms and making homemade ice cream.

Before I had a car I particularly enjoyed catching a small passenger train that stopped in our little town. I would ride it twelve miles to another small town that had a movie theater. Seeing a good western movie on a Saturday night was all I needed to spark my very vivid imagination. As I rode home on that little train, lazily bumping its way down the tracks, I would stare out the window into the dark and relive every scene of the movie. The only difference was I imagined myself as the "good guy" in the white hat. I imagined riding my horse better and shooting my gun faster and winning the heart of the girl in the movie quicker.

I realize that these particular things are no longer done, but there are other simple things in life that are just as fulfilling.

I suppose the point I am trying to make is that the circumstances in life should not rob us of our joy, unless we allow it. God wants us to enjoy the fruit of our labor regardless of the difficulties of life.

Father,

Thank you for giving us the mind of Christ which gives us the ability to renew our mind, helps us to choose life rather than death, and joy rather than sorrow. I particularly thank You Lord for teaching me to enjoy many of the simple things of life while riding our little slow moving passenger train that bumped its way down the tracks taking ordinary folks like me home.

Amen

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