Text: Leviticus 19:1-2; 9-18
The world sends us all kinds of messages about what the good life is. Vacations to Aspen, being financially independent, buying the latest iPhone, owning a vacation home, being able to buy products that erase our wrinkles, eating at five-star restaurants, driving a fancy car, indulging in whatever we find pleasurable, and that list is endless. And yet, when asked the question, “What is the good life?” most of us sitting here would shy away from such worldly responses. I recently read an article in Forbes Magazine titled: The Ten Golden Rules on Living the Good Life. For most of us it probably gets more to the heart of how we would describe the good life.The Ten Golden Rules on Living the Good Life are as follows:
- Examine life; always search for new pleasures and new destinations to reach with your mind.
- Worry only about the things that are in your control…
- Treasure Friendship, the reciprocal attachment that fills the need for affiliation.
- Experience True Pleasure. Avoid shallow and transient pleasures. True pleasure is disciplined and restrained.
- Master Yourself. Stop deceiving yourself, believing only what is personally useful and convenient; self-mastery requires ruthless candor.
- Avoid Excess. Even good things, pursued or attained without moderation, can become a source of misery and suffering.
- Be a Responsible Human Being. Approach yourself with honesty and thoroughness; maintain a kind of spiritual hygiene; stop the blame-shifting for your errors and shortcomings.
- Don’t Be a Prosperous Fool. Money is necessary but not a sufficient condition for the good life, for happiness and wisdom.
- Don’t Do Evil to Others. Evildoing is a dangerous habit, a kind of reflex too quickly resorted to and too easily justified that has a lasting and damaging effect upon the quest for the good life.
- Show kindness towards others. Kindness to others is a good habit that supports and reinforces the quest for the good life.
It’s not a bad list. But is Forbes Magazine the best source for those of us seeking wisdom on living the good life? Some of you are nodding yes, internally if not externally. And you may have a point – there are some powerful things on that list. But this morning it is this reading from Leviticus 19 that I want us to think about as we consider the question: What is the good life?