Functionality vs. Pleasure
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no goodthing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
I tend towards function. When I look at an object, if it doesn't have a specific use, it's discarded. My life is well organized and everything I do has a purpose to it. My husband is a free spirit, enjoying life's luxuries as they come and ... in the beginning this drove me insane. He could stop and smell the roses without going through a mental to-do list! I couldn't. He knew how to relax, he knew how to enjoy the moment. I find similarly, like my marriage that there are also two schools of thought on what Christians can and cannot do. One is functional, the other less so. One focuses on rules, the other on relationship.
The first bible fellowship we attended had a discussion along these lines and the subject was alcohol. Alcohol, some argued, wasn't inherently bad in itself, but as Paul said "not everything is beneficial" and the negative affects (when taken out of moderation) far outweighed the good. Somehow though that first part "everything is permissible" was forgotten... lost in the banter of conversation until someone reminded all of us that a cupcake isn't very beneficial either (with little to no nutritional value), but it's oh-so-good!
Could it be that there are some things in this life that serve no other purpose than for our enjoyment? Could we have a Father so loving that some things (in moderation) are simply for our pleasure?
Jesus' first miracle is a great example of the abundance of God's love for his people. He's at a wedding and they are out of wine. Now, you have to ask yourself two questions here:
- Is wine actually a necessity in a wedding?
- What was wine used for in a wedding (lest we resort to saying it was used to purify their water, consider that in John 2:10 not only does Jesus turn water into wine but he turns it into GOOD wine...).
I doubt that Jesus was asserting His authority here so much as He was simply sharing in the love of the Father by watching His people enjoy themselves. Jesus kept the party going.
What I'm not advocating is drunkenness (or gluttony)...that's a whole other post. However, a lesson God is teaching me is that some things are purely for enjoyment. It's okay to enjoy one glass of wine, or take a few minutes from work to spend time with the people around you, or leave the cleaning for tomorrow and enjoy a night out on the porch---or to have a cupcake (but just one! Our body is a temple!) All work and no play isn't what God ever intended for His children just as many of us wouldn't intend that for ours
Restriction and legalism are lies perpetuated by the enemy and the very things Jesus came to set us free from. When your focus is rules, life become only about function--what you can and cannot do, but when life is about relationship, a relationship with a Father bent on giving every good thing, life becomes about love--a love so vast that you can't help but give away in the overflow. Doing what is right naturally flows out of that love, not because we are sticking to the rules but because we love a Father who gives good things!
I spent time with a good friend and as we watched her little boy play she smiled and said "I love to watch him have fun. I love to watch him enjoy all the things that seem so mundane to us now." As she spoke, I couldn't help but feel that God sings this over each of us daily. Not everything is about work and function...some things were made simply for us to enjoy and it makes life that much more beautiful.
*Special thanks to my wonderful husband who is teaching me slowly but surely how to relax and enjoy life so I don't miss it!