Read: Deuteronomy 20:1–9

Has anyone planted a vineyard and not yet enjoyed its fruit? He should go back to his house, or he might die in the battle and another be first to enjoy its fruit. Deuteronomy 20:6

In the Bible there are reasons to go to war, and there are reasons to avoid the battlefield. If you had just built a house but had not dedicated it, if you had planted a vineyard and not enjoyed its fruit, if you were engaged but had not yet married . . . you should disengage from the battle to first enjoy the blessings of life. Even when the land of the Israelites was threatened, God did not want a single person to lose out on the opportunity to enjoy life.

Home, food, drink, intimacy with a life partner—the extravagantly simple pleasures of life—are experiences not to be missed. Miss the battle before you miss the joys of life. But for those of us who have tasted some of the goodness of life . . . the battle, the hardships, the front line fight for God’s will to be done in our world and in our lives . . . that battle is ours. For God, no one should go to the grave without savoring a bit of the beauty of life first.

What activities fill you with pleasure?

Lord God, before duty is Your command to take pleasure—not to live a life of indulgence, but to taste some of the fruits of this world before we come to our earthly end. You desire us to be happy, even for this brief moment of life. How amazing that You even care for our pleasure, insisting that we make time for it! In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.