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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Are We Having Fun Yet?

An ad in today’s newspaper appealed to readers who want to lose weight. The weight-loss company said the best thing about its program is the fun readers would have if they joined. If trying to lose weight is so much fun, why are so many people overweight? Overweight people might argue that eating generous helpings of pecan pie topped with ice cream is fun, but dieting is torture.

Having fun seems to be a key factor in almost every modern venture. It isn’t uncommon for job recruiters to talk about Company X as a fun place to work. We are encouraged to exercise for fun, and our children or grandchildren are supposed to have fun in the classroom. The schools I attended were so wrong. My classmates and I had to work hard in class. Our teachers were so uniformed that they thought only recess was supposed to be fun.

A growing number of Christians look for a church home on the basis of how much fun a church provides. Entertainment and social life seem to be more important to them than edification and service. “Rock on” seems to be gaining acceptance while devotion to the Rock of Ages seems to be shrinking.

Just a reminder: Jesus summoned His disciples to take up a cross and follow Him. He assured them they would have tribulation, but He also told them to be of good cheer. Are good cheer and fun synonymous? I don’t think so. But good cheer and joy are. Having fun depends upon exposure to entertaining circumstances; whereas joy depends upon exposure to the Scriptures and a close relationship with Christ. James instructed us to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:4). How long do you think James would last in a modern-day church with a calendar crammed with fun-filled activities?

It isn’t wrong to have fun, but it is wrong to evaluate the worth of a church or Christianity on the basis of fun. Maybe the weight-loss company can produce lighter participants in a fun-filled way. And maybe churches can produce lighter Christians in a fun-filled way.