Saturday, September 29, 2012
I'm on the social committee for our church this year...
As well as being a SS Superintendent, and having my first sermon coming up in about two months... A lot of firsts for me this year, and a lot of busyness. But, being on the social committee, I think I need to study about what types of recreation are pleasing to our Heavenly Father. I know I've studied these things before, but I think I need a refresher. Honestly, I'm just writing as I study! I'll share whatever I find, all quotes will be taken from the tiny book, "Recreation", by Mrs. White.
Right on the first page, (which is actually pg. 5 according to the book), I find this quote:
"It is God's purpose to manifest through His people the principles of His kingdom. That in life and character they may reveal these principles, He desires to separate them from the customs, habits, and practices of the world. He seeks to bring them nearer to Himself that He may make known to them His will..."
What that says to me, is that God is not arbitrarily demanding us to be separate and odd. It's so we can be closer to Him, and know His will. And what a privilege that is!
Moving on to page 7, I find this powerful quote:
"The world is watching to see what fruit is borne by professed Christians. It has a right to look for self-denial and self-sacrifice from those who believe advanced truth. It is watching, ready to criticize with keeness and severity our words and acts. Everyone who acts a part in the work of God is weighed in the scales of human discernment. Impressions favorable or unfavorable to Bible religion are constantly being made on the minds of all with whom we have to do."
Wow. You know, it's true. It's not only my salvation that is in the balance. It's the salvation of my family, friends, and all with whom I come in contact with, when I either do right or wrong... a very sobering thought, to say the least.
The second chapter is about dangerous amusements... I don't know what this particular chapter says, so I'll just quote what it reads!
"The desire for excitement and pleasing entertainment is a temptation and a snare to the young. Satan is constantly preparing inducements to attract minds from the solemn work of preparation for scenes just in the future...."
I know it's true. I came from the world... which I'll go into later. Here's another short little quote that seems relevant:
"Some can enter the ballroom, and unite in all the amusements which it affords. others cannot go to such lengths as this, yet they can attend parties of pleasure, picnics, shows, and other places of worldly amusement; and the most discerning eye would fail to detect any difference between their appearance and that of unbelievers."
And that seems scary to me. I want to carry the atmosphere of Christ with me, and I know that looks different than the world.
And on we go to chapter three: Worldly amusements.
A very positive quote we have here:
"Gatherings for social intercourse may be made in the highest degree profitable and instructive when those who meet together have the love of God glowing in their hearts, when they meet to exchange thoughts in regard to the word of God, or to consider methods for advancing His work and doing good to their fellow men. When nothing is said or done to grieve the Holy Spirit of God, but it is regarded as a welcome guest, then God is honored, and those who meet together will be refreshed and strengthened."
Some very good thoughts, there! I love those times together, seeking God and His will!
I'm now going to skip to a later portion of the book. Speaking of a couple of young men, Mrs. White says;
"They may inquire, Shall we have no amusement or recreation? Shall we work, work, work, without variation? Any amusement in which they can engage asking the blessing of God upon it in faith, will not be dangerous; but any amusement which disqualifies them for secret prayer, for devotion at the altar of prayer, or for taking part in the prayer meeting, is not safe, but dangerous."
I can see the point of these young men, to some extent. Because I know that as a people, we have gotten way too busy, and don't take that Enoch time, that time to rest from the cares of this world. Even Jesus took small bits of that time. But like Mrs. White says, only some things are appropriate for that time...
This quote is about a situation that happened at the Avondale school in Australia. Mrs. White has an interesting view of this:
"A view of things was presented for me in which the students were playing games of tennis and cricket. Then I was given instruction regarding the character of these amusements. They were presented to me as a species of idolatry, like the idols of the nations."
And sports were like an idol for my family and I, before we were Christians. I know how addictive it can be. Even the simplest game, when it is not to the glory of God, (I must add, most games are not), can lead to the basest idolatry.
I'll finish quoting and move on with this last quote:
"Whether ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.' Let every one who claims to be a child of the heavenly King seek constantly to represent the principles of the kingdom of God."
What a fitting end to that book! I skipped so much, I would highly recommend each and every Adventist to read that little book.
But I must share some personal experience. I have been through many walks of life, even though my life has not been a long one thus far. I've been in the world and the church. I've been in liberal and conservative ranks, both. And I find recreation and amusement an issue in every single group. In the world, it is pure insanity. I won't even go there. But in the church, believe it or not, the same issues are there, just not to the same extent. Whether it be board games or ball playing, it matters not. Whether it be movies or plays, it doesn't matter. The enemy doesn't care whether he keeps us out of the kingdom an inch or a mile. And I know, from personal experience in my own life, my struggles and failures, that competition and drama, or whatever worldly entertainment it may be, will lead out... not in. It has come close to wrapping me in its web. I only share these things, because I see the great need of a people who lives for more than pleasure, although the Lord loves to see us pleased. That considers more than only relaxation, although at times we must relax.
Friends, I want to live for Christ, come what may. I know the desperate struggle that may be involved: I struggle with worldliness daily, myself! But it will all be worth it, so worth it!
Will you join me in seeking only that recreation which will glorify God, and make us even more fit to spend time with Him, and, by His grace, serve Him?