UPDATE Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Shan Gian, who serves as Fenway Site Pastor at Symphony Church in Boston, is an updated version of his blog first posted on September 28, 2014. He is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div.).
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“Go Ahead, Have Some Fun”
Ecclesiastes 11:9 (ESV)
Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.
In our culture—at least before the calamitous arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic—people have bucket lists: a list of great, fun, and exciting things to do, like skydiving or kayaking off of a waterfall before you die or “kick the bucket.” We also have a phenomenon called YOLO, which stands for “You Only Live Once.” Typically, someone will say, “YOLO!” before they do something spontaneous and exciting, which they will likely regret later on, but it’s okay, “you only live once!”
At first glance, it seems like Solomon agrees with this culture of YOLO and checking things off their bucket lists when he says, “Walk in the ways of your hearts and the sight of your eyes.” There is some truth to this, since I think Solomon is telling people to have joy, to enjoy life, and do things that are fun and exciting. But in contrast to the idea of YOLO, Solomon warns us that there are consequences: “But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.” Following your own heart can be dangerous as Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things.” So we must remember that God sees and knows all things; and we will be judged by him. But this seems like a conflicting message: How can we really rejoice and have fun, if we have to fear the consequences to come? How do we make sense of this?
We, as Christians, should be the most joyful people in the world. Though the Christian life often has a reputation for being boring and dull, that’s not how it’s meant to be. We should be having fun, and our lives should be filled with joy. Yes, we know that there is a judgment to come, but because we have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus, we need not fear this eschatological event, which should certainly terrify those who don’t know Christ (Heb. 12:29). And because of what Jesus has done for us, we should—even amid the COVID-19 pandemic that really has altered our lives—rejoice because we have this love relationship with our Father in heaven. So, let us celebrate this Lord’s day and have some good clean fun because our Heavenly Father truly loves and cares for us!
Prayer: Father, may this Lord’s day be filled with great joy! I pray that as I remember the love of Jesus shown to me on the cross, that I will experience joy of being forgiven and redeemed, not fearing the judgment to come. Help me today to celebrate and have fun in Your name. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 17