Let’s go on a guilt trip together. Every day, 805 million people go to bed hungry, yet we go out for supper at an all-you-can-eat buffet and stuff our faces until we are physically uncomfortable. Approximately 2,300 people will die today because of insufficient drinking water, yet we fill our swimming pools and hot tubs with drinkable water so that we can sit in them. The average daily income in developing countries is the same amount that we will casually hand over at Starbucks for one Frappuccino.
This guilt trip brings us to a rather uncomfortable destination. If we are the body of Christ on earth, should His hands be clutching expensive coffee drinks? Should His feet spend their time dangling into cool blue water? Should His mouths selfishly devour excessive amounts of food?
Furthermore, should we be spending our spare time playing sports, watching movies, and going to the mall? With all the needs in this world, is it right for Christians to simply have fun?
It seems difficult to reconcile the suffering of the world with the amount of time we spend on fun. Yet, if we cannot figure out how the two can fit together, it means we need to get rid of one or the other. And that, too, brings us to an uncomfortable realization—fun is the one that needs to go.
But perhaps we are asking the wrong question. Perhaps fun is not an activity that we must remain separate from if we are going to be people of God. Instead, fun is something that we can enter into as people of God in the ways that He intended.
It is easy to compartmentalize our lives. We have our “spiritual” categories, which include the time we spend praying, reading our Bibles, going to Church, and participating in outreach. Then there’s the “other” stuff, like sports, entertainment, relaxation, and amusement. You know, the “fun” stuff.
There are two basic problems with stuffing our lives into little boxes. One is that the various boxes do not fit together well, and we are left trying to analyze how our time should be distributed.
The second problem is much more serious but often overlooked—separating our lives into “spiritual” and “secular” categories is wrong.
God is not present only in the parts of this world that are overtly spiritual. He is everywhere, and His presence infuses everything. We must stop trying to exclude God from parts of our lives where He is delightfully present.
God created us with physical bodies, bodies that can move and play, laugh and enjoy, create and reflect. He loves to see us doing those things, for they flow out of who He is. When we learn to open our eyes, we find that He is actively present in the ordinary. And yes, He is actively present in our fun.
The Bible’s Perspective
We don’t see the Bible saying anything directly for or against fun. But we do see it saying that everything we do is to be permeated with God’s presence.
However, this still leaves us with questions to consider. Is all fun okay? How much time and money should we spend on entertainment? Again, the Bible is maddeningly silent.
Sometimes it seems like it would be handy if the Bible would give us some clear direction on the area of fun and entertainment. You know, just some simple guidelines laying out how often we may play in volleyball tournaments and what movie ratings are okay.
But then again, the Christian life is not about following a list of dos and don’ts. It’s about love and relationship. We are clearly instructed that the most important thing is loving God—heart, soul, mind, and strength. And the equally important thing is loving our neighbor—deeply, unselfishly, and unconditionally.
When we see those greatest commandments as the driving force behind all our actions and attitudes, suddenly the blurriness of fun receives a few clear edges. When we are living in a vibrant relationship with our Father, fun—like anything—is transformed because we are believers.
Fun cannot be an end in itself. If we chase fun as a distraction from deeper issues, a narcotic to dull our pain, or an antidote to deep discontent, it will leave us feeling empty. Fun in the name of fun cannot be a license for separating something from what it means to be Christ-like. It should play into what it means to be like Jesus. It should also be a source of rest and rejuvenation that further enables us to fulfill our purpose of serving Him.
Practical Parameters for Fun
What does this look like practically? Here are a few ways to think about what fun should look like when it is infused with Christ.
Good fun is always loving. It does not exclude, make fun of, or take advantage of others.
Good fun is always respectful. It is not damaging to others’ property or feelings. It gives honor to the weaker brother, as Paul lays out in 1 Corinthians 8-9.
Good fun happens in moderate quantities. There are no black and white amounts here, but if we listen to the Spirit, He will show us what He is calling us to individually.
Essentially, good fun is a way to embrace life. It is living fully and joyfully, which is something that pleases our Father. It is following His call to rest, making us people with a better ability to serve Him for another day.
Good fun is just that—good. And like all good things, it finds its source in our good God, who calls us to enter into fun with a renewed perspective.
|Meghan Brubaker lives in Yatton, Ontario with her wonderful husband Travis. Her profession/passion is teaching her class of wonderful sixth-graders. She loves being creative, whether it is through teaching, writing, or other hobbies like playing the piano or experimenting with word art. She loves to take delight in the small things in life, like the rosy clouds of a perfect sunset or finding a dew-laced spider web. Most of all, she desires to live fully by loving God and others deeply.|
- “11 Facts About Global Poverty.” DoSomething.org, http://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-global-poverty.
- Adams, Karyn. “Top 20 Poverty Facts That You Need to Know.” The Borgen Project, https://borgenproject.org/20-poverty-facts/, 31 July 2018.