Solomon states in Ecclesiastes 9:7-10 that one of the keys to surviving the brutalities of life is to relax . . . chill . . . drink some wine . . . recreate . . . and have a good laugh.
According to some scholars, Solomon didn’t say that at the beginning of his prodigal period when he went off the rails on a crazy train with the idols and the hookers and stuff. No, he offered this advice at the end of his life when he had already experienced massive highs and debasing lows. It was after he had penned the Proverbs, written the Song of Songs, departed from God and had come back to reality that he summed up life as vanity in which one would do well to 1. Fear the Lord (Eccl. 12:13), 2. Enjoy the ride, and 3. Drink some wine. In other words, keep it simple, stupid.
I’m sure most folks get the “everything is vanity” stuff from Sol’s pen. I’m certain most of the faithful get that “life is hard work, a sweat of the brow” subsistence (except, of course, the metrosexual 30-year-old males who live with mommy and won’t get a job). I am also equally positive that most sincere Christians understand the crucial requirement of the fear of God for worship and well-being.
But relaxing? Enjoying the ride? Seizing life? And wine? Drinking wine? Giles, have you gone nuts?
Yes, I have, and I love every minute of it. Christians aren’t supposed to drink alcohol; Christians aren’t supposed to laugh their butts off; Christians aren’t supposed to lighten up, dial down and smell the roses. We’re ‘sposed to be high-strung, nerve-grating, everything-is-a-five-alarm-fire batch of people loaded down with stress and anxiety “for the Lord,” right? Wrong, Dinky. Dead wrong. And here’s a little ditty: If you don’t chill and chill soon, you will soon be . . . dead.
When one begins to go through the meat grinder of life, the first thing to evaporate like a pack of Camels at a crack house is joy. Joy is serious business because according to God, without it you’re oh so lame. You and I won’t be able to stand against the forces of hell and our rotten desires or endure God’s discipline without getting happy in God. Yep, without the gravity-defying virtue of joy cranking through our spirits we won’t be able to pray the fuzz off a peach.