February 3, 2016 | by: Maureen Maniquis | 4 Comments
Posted in: Gospel Living
I’ve been thinking about the word enjoy and what it really means to enjoy someone. Webster says it means to take pleasure or have an experience that is pleasurable and satisfying; to have a good time. I pictured how that looks in my life when I am enjoying the company of friends or family. I might be having a meal, a glass of wine perhaps, as we share our thoughts across the table. As I look and listen some of the pleasure will come from the combination of traits that make up their personality; the things that draw me to them. I’ll hear the lilt of their voice as it rises and falls with passion, the widening or squinting of their eyes as they speak from their heart and make their point. Their hands may be slicing the air like a conductor’s baton filling their story with musical accompaniment. And best of all, the resonance of their laughter that rises up from their soul spreading pure pleasure into the room and lighting it up. There is just something about laughter that is so very satisfying, so enjoyable. Have you ever noticed how unique a person’s laugh can sound? I think we all know people that we could identify just by the sound of their laughter. These things are just the outward pleasures that make them so enjoyable to be in their company. I have yet to speak of the rich depths that lie beneath all this eye candy. You know what I mean; we all have certain people in our lives that we really enjoy.
What started me down this train of thought was a familiar yet ancient passage I came across from the Westminster Shorter Catechism that was written in 1649. It poses the question, “What is the chief end of man?” (what is the purpose of man/woman, why are we here?) The answer comes with simple clarity, “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Wow, it hit me with a jolt. Do I enjoy God? Yes, I know, you’ll say, “but we can’t see him; it’s not the same.” And yes, it’s true in the literal, physical sense, but his personality is visible everywhere. Any observer of nature can see that there is a big personality behind all this eye candy. Peruse the Rockies to the Himalayas, the tropics to the arctic, a redwood or a violet, a rhino or a ladybug; the mind of God is displayed, and I haven’t even begun to speak of the rich depths that lie beneath.
But it’s when we start the conversation with him that we really begin to take in his personality. He has invited us in and set the table for us. The food is gourmet and the wine is expensive and the candles are flickering with warm amber tones. As he tells us his stories of our beginnings, his eyes wrinkle with the smile of his pleasure. His breath is sweet in remembrance and his hands are animated in joy. Then his hands begin to slowly drop to his lap and his eyes narrow with sadness as he speaks of betrayal and loss. It’s a riveting story and his heart is on his sleeve. He looks across the table as a slight smile begins to return. He pours some wine and winks in our direction and passes some bread around. The room is warm and feels cozy and safe. He is really enjoying our company now. He can’t wait to share some more of himself with us. He has so much to tell us, so much he wants us to know. The loss has been restored. The damage has been repaired. His hands are really animated now as his resounding laughter fills the room. He has it all written down so we won’t forget; so we can take our time to understand it all. And he really wants us to have a good time, to enjoy him as much as he enjoys us. It’s so obvious; the spread on the table is over the top. He is lavishing us with pleasure.
As I sit here taking in the scene, watching him, listening to him, I find myself so drawn to him. I find myself enjoying him, this person, God. And I wonder when it was that I forgot to think of him this way --as a friend? Did I stop seeing his heart on his sleeve? Did I stop hearing his passion in his voice or the way his hands orchestrate the beat of life?
I want to spend more time at this table of grace. I want to drink this good wine and eat this satisfying bread that sustains my soul. I want to enjoy my friend. I want to hear what he wants to tell me and I want to tell him how much I appreciate his friendship, his company and his stories. His face is imprinted all over His-story and he has a beautiful face!
“I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure.” Psalm 119:162
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” Psalm 37:4
“For the Lord delights in his people, he crowns the humble with victory.” Psalm 149:4
Maureen Maniquis moved to Florida 10 years ago from Bern, Switzerland where she and her husband were living for 6 years while working at the American Embassy. While there, they helped plant an English speaking church in the heart of the city that still thrives today to meet the needs of expats who desire to be a part of a community of fellow believers. Maureen has been a part of the Restoration Church Core Team since its plant in 2010 and currently serves on the Hospitality Team and Prayer Team and will be a regular contributor to our blogs. She has published a book of her memoirs and is a passionate writer on Gospel living and pointing people to the heart of Jesus. maureenmaniquis-blog.com