“Let the fields be jubilant and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy” (Psalm 96:12, NIV 1984).
My wife stood there with buckteeth and a hunting rifle on her shoulder. My brother-in-law wore a coon-skin cap. My sisters and I just looked our usual silly selves as we all sang to my brother-just-turned-60. Together we had put together a birthday song celebrating his life to the old tune of “Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier.” Only, the chorus to my brother’s song was "Stephen, Steve the Hunter, and Sometimes He Works on Teeth.” My brother is a periodontist. He loves his work, loves the Lord, loves his family and he really loves hunting.
Why do some dedicated Christians seem to take so much time out of life to enjoy themselves instead of serving the Lord? Or is this a stupid question born in envy because some folks are not enjoying their own lives?
One of the clear messages of our Lord was that He has come so that we can live an abundant life of joy, with Him.
Remember again Eric Liddell’s response to the accusation that he was wasting his time running instead of serving on the mission field:
“God made me for China….but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel God’s pleasure.”
There is no separation between my brother’s hunting and his life with the Lord. When he is looking out over the forest, he marvels at God’s handiwork. When he worships in church, he worships a God whose creative beauty he understands far better than most. When he plans his hunts, he takes countless men and boys with him, many who have killed their first deer on his farm and many who have sat around the wood stove and listened to his evening devotions, so that God can connect with them as they watch the sunrise from their deer stands the next morning.
The path to God’s pleasure in life is not to have less fun and serve more. The path to God’s pleasure is to follow our Lord into the passions He has given us and use them deliberately to glorify Him and to bring others to meet Him there.
Help me to respect the passions you have given me. Show me how to use them for joy and for your glory,