I think King Solomon would be a great dude to party with on Saint Patrick’s Day. I mean I am sure he would practice self-control, but at the same time I could see him throwing back some Irish Car Bombs. Solomon wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes and he is pretty clear in there that we should “Eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a merry heart”. (Ecclesiastes 9:7)
Its pretty easy to read the book of Ecclesiastes and come away with a rather hedonist view point. Solomon consistently talks about how we should eat, drink and be merry. Death is an eventual place for all of creation. Everyone will eventually die. I mean it may not be today or tomorrow, but eventually everyone you know will be dead and you will be too.
That got dark fast.
I think I am going to write a whole new blog called “Just Another Emo Beggar”.
In all seriousness death is an eventual. Often when someone comes to terms with this eventual resting place they lash out and try to live things up. Every Mid-Life crisis is founded on this principal. Pretty much every middle-aged man you see with a Porsche or a 19-year-old girlfriend is struggling with their mortality.
Hedonism gets a bad rap in the Church because we think that most “living it up” behaviors are wrong. I mean just poll most Christians about whether or not getting drunk on Saint Patty’s day is a sin. I will bet you a million Irish Car Bombs that the majority will say drunkenness is a sin. I feel pretty confident in that because Paul literally writes “Do not get drunk on Irish Car Bombs which leads to debauchery”. (Ephesians 5:18).
While I am not advocating that getting drunk isn’t a sin, I am going to advocate that not all Hedonism is wrong. Let’s take a step back here and make sure we are all on the same page.
Hedonism is the school of thought that states that pleasure and happiness are the most important parts of life. Basically, “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die” or as it is more commonly known, “eat, pray, love”.
Hedonism by itself is wrong in the sense that the primary goal of our life isn’t pleasure and happiness, but rather glorifying God. However! Many times, in our lives glorifying God looks like partaking in hedonistic values.
Yesterday was my sister’s birthday. She was born on Saint Patrick’s Day which completes the cycle of all of us siblings sharing our birthdays with holidays. I was born on Mother’s Day, every couple of years my older sister shares her birthday with Memorial Day and my oldest sister was born on my half birthday.
Yesterday my sister and I went out to a local bar and celebrated her birthday. We drank some beers, ate some cheese fries, talked about some nerdy things and played some old school arcade games. It was a great time. Every couple of weeks we try to get together and do something like that. Basically, we try to live.
I would argue that if I had gone to the bar with my sister and instead of enjoying our time together I lectured her on the morals of drinking or eating cheesy fries, I would essentially be sinning. God gave us a life and he wants us to live it.
I am not saying that you need to go get smashed tonight to live life. I know friends who have chosen not to drink because of family history or past addictions. I am advocating that you need to live life though. When you wake up at 7am and start your morning ritual do you stop to enjoy breakfast with your wife or husband. When we see the majesty of God’s creation in a sunset or sunrise do we notice it? Do we take time off work to relax and rest?
Life is meant to be fun.
The only caveat to Hedonism is to make sure we don’t take it too far.
One of the perks of being a pulpit supply pastor is that you can preach from any of the years in the lectionary because you won’t be here when they come back up. So, I did just that this morning. I preached on Philippians 3 4-14.
Paul’s main point in this text is that everything is nothing compared to Christ. Furthermore, it is actually rubbish, garbage or dung compared to Christ. There is nothing in this world that compares to the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This train of thought should always be the end to all hedonistic endeavors. We should start off living life to the fullest in as much as it fits with the mentality that nothing compares to Christ. So instead of getting smashed on Irish Car Bombs, we recognize that that no amount of joy or hedonism will compare to Christ. Instead of working 90 hours a week to make as much money as possible, we recognize that no amount of money will ever compare to Christ.
There is a fine line here to walk. On the one side we have living life to its fullest, attempting to conquer our dreams and challenges, wanting a certain lifestyle or simply enjoying the time we have. On the other side we have not allowing those dreams, desires or lifestyles to overtake the position of Christ in our lives.
Essentially we have to strive our hardest to make the most of our lives now whilst also remaining fully in the understanding that nothing will ever compare to the knowledge of Christ.
In other words go grab yourself a Killian’s Irish Red and make your wife dinner tonight.