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June 2024 Student Minister's Note

by Lilly Hunter

Whether we want to admit it or not, each of us is striving to create a good life. This summer that might include vacations to beautiful places, time to lay by the pool, or a fruitful garden. We dream of lives unencumbered by menial tasks, with an abundance of free time and the money to fill that time and think good life”.

We all would define a good life a little differently, based on our favorite pass times and goals. In Hebrew, the word for the good life is ashray. You could point to someone with a new fishing boat and an empty weekend and go “Ah, that family is ashray”.

Jesus uses this word in Matthew 5:3-11, when he begins the sermon on the mount. It could read:

“The good life belongs to the poor in spirit for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

The good life belongs to those who mourn for they will be comforted.

The good life belongs to the humble for they will inherit the Land.

The good life belongs to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.

The good life belongs to those who show mercy for they will be shown mercy.

The good life belongs to the pure in heart for they will see God.

The good life belongs to those who make peace for they will be called sons of God.

The good life belongs to those who are persecuted because they pursue righteousness for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”

The list that Jesus creates certainly defies our normal definition of the good life. It doesn’t include any material markers of wealth, no mention of career success or even high hopes for our children. Jesus defines the good life as one achieved by the poor, the mourning, the humble, the hungry, the merciful, the pure, and the persecuted. This is not a typically enviable life, yet this is what the eternal God says is worth striving for.

How do we become all of these things?

Later in the sermon, Christ says that we achieve the good life by following Him - giving up all ideas of wealth and comfort and committing our entire being to bringing “Your will on earth as it is in heaven”.

The call of the good life is to love so radically that we “love our enemies”, trust so boldly that we “are not anxious in anything”, to serve so joyfully that we “pray in secret”. Living the good life is self sacrifice for the sake of the cross, truly following in the footsteps of Jesus.

This month, I pray that we take stock of our life and the dreams we have for our future. Are our plans defined by comfortable retirements? Do we dream of accolades and wealth for ourselves and our children? Or do we point to servants of Jesus martyred in their prime, preachers of the gospel who have died with not a penny left to give, and community builders who loved people who are truly unlovable and seek to model our lives after theirs?

As we grow in knowledge about Jesus together, I pray that we also grow in boldness to live the good life to the fullest of his definition.


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