12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.
After Solomon rants and raves over the meaninglessness of the world as only a man with all the wealth and success in the world can, God soothes his soul enough for him to peek behind the bleak vision he has constructed in order to see God’s scaffolding–His structure underneath Solomon’s tented version.
Pleasure gets a rough hauling-over in the Christian world. It’s a tricky whispering thing that wants to suck you in to its carnival. We are all Pinocchios at the fair. Good food, good company, good scenery, good movies, good vacations…we love it, but always in the back of our minds there is a check to these joys, a half step back lest we forget that we are strangers in a strange land. But just because we are designed for another world does not mean we need to fear this one.
The land was originally built for us. It was a place to walk in the cool of the day with God. It was whispering wind through the willows and deer prints on the wet grass and grapes at peak ripeness and families beginning, and yes, that one tree we couldn’t keep our hands off of, but also so many other wonderful drops of happiness.
God built this world for us to enjoy. He wants to see us happy. He is a happy guy. Why is that the part we always forget? God’s not up there squinting over Finnegan’s Wake in his reading glasses and waiting to discipline us when we slink through the door. He made the mist for you to walk through. He made your spouse to love and dance with and eat with and watch YouTube videos with (a prerequisite in our house). He thinks an extra serving of tikka masala because there’s still naan left for dipping is exactly what the occasion calls for. He likes a good joke too.
C.S. Lewis wrote in the voice of Screwtape, a master-level demon:
[God, the “Enemy,” is] a hedonist at heart…Out at sea, out in His sea, there is pleasure, and more pleasure. He makes no secret of it; at His right hand are “pleasures for evermore.” Ugh!…He has filled His world full of pleasures. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least—sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working.
-From The Screwtape Letters
God loves pleasure and so should we. I think the crux of the matter is that in everything we give thanks. Reading a really excellent novel for two hours straight in the middle of the day when there are things to be done is a blessing from God. That quick weekend trip to the lake with the kids before they leave the nest is a blessing from God. That glass of wine with a friend is a blessing from God. That little thrill of excitement over a new work project is a blessing from God. That ten hours of sleep after a long work week is a blessing from God.
May we “eat, drink, and find satisfaction in all [our] toil.” It is His gift. He wants us to say thank you and enjoy it.
Sunday Thoughts Link Up!
It’s time for another Sunday Thoughts Link-Up! I know there are many out there with wisdom that could encourage all of us. As long as it’s faith-based, I’d love for you to join up and then read and comment on what others have shared. Please also leave a comment here. Think of this as a Sunday morning community group that comes to you. And grab the button if you like…
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