2001-01-26 - Pleasure
Ecclesiastes 2:1 I said to myself, 'Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself.' And behold, it too was futility.
This coming Sunday is one of the biggest sporting events of the year. It is the culmination of months of athletic contests between teams and the field is now narrowed down to two. They will play each other, and millions of people all around the world will watch the game. If you are anything like me, you couldn't care less. However, lots of people do care deeply about the Super Bowl and if you doubt this at all, just visit a convenience store on Sunday evening and take a look at the chips section. It will be almost empty.
There are, it seems, a lot of Christians in Professional Football. Every team has a chaplain, and I believe that after each game the Christian players on both sides join in the end zone for prayer. Whatever your views on athletes as role models, there are some in professional sports who do seek to be good examples.
I'm all for recreation. I think it is healthy to take a break and enjoy some down time. I use a phrase, "If you don't come apart for a while, you will come apart." It makes sense if you think about it. However, how we recreate is something we should consider. Living as a Christian affects every area of our lives, even how we recreate. A Christian shows himself to be who he is in all that he does. Augustine said, "Casta delicia mea sunt scripturea tua," which translated means, "Lord, my chaste delights are Thy Holy Scriptures."
Augustine knew that in God's Word there is delight to be found. He, I think, would find refreshment in looking into God's word and taking a view of those things that he had set his hopes on. The Bible was for him a delight. In fact, it was his greatest delight. David knew this when he said in Psalm 119:92, "If Your law had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my affliction."
Pleasure is one of our affections in life. What is pleasurable to one person is distasteful to another. There are both earthly and heavenly pleasures. Again David says in Psalm 37:4: "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." Even Paul knew this in Philippians 4:4: "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice."
We have Christian liberty to delight in earthly things. This liberty, while allowed, still means that we use our freedom wisely and avoid excesses. Pleasure is something that is in our natures to seek. However, we must exercise this freedom in moderation. When we abuse the privileges of our liberty, we can be chained to them and they can take control of us. Pleasure, when abused, can become our taskmaster. However, when we use our Christian liberty wisely, then it can be to us a great joy.
So whatever you do on this Sunday, if you choose to recreate and relax, do it in moderation. How we use our Christian freedom and liberty shows, as a mirror would, who we really are and what type of Christian faith we have and practice.
Soli Deo Gloria,