The Dancing Puritan

Friday, April 26, 2013

There is Nothing Better Than Eating, Drinking and Pleasure

George Beverly Shea died on April 17th at the age of 104. He now is in the presence of the one that he so beautifully sang about. Perhaps his most beloved song is I'd Rather Have Jesus.

I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold
I'd rather be His than have riches untold
I'd rather have Jesus than houses or lands
I'd rather be led by His nail pierced hands

Than to be a king of a best domain
And be held in sin's dread sway
I'd rather have Jesus
Than anything this world affords today

I'd rather have Jesus than worldly applause
I'd rather be faithful to His dear cause
I'd rather have Jesus than worldwide fame
Yes, I'd rather be true to His holy name

Than to be a king of a best domain
And be held in sin's dread sway
I'd rather have Jesus
Than anything this world affords today

There is only one way to enjoy silver, gold, riches, houses, lands, marriage and serving with great power and influence. There is only one way to eat, dance, garden, labor, vacation, run a company and love a wife in a way that is delightful and meaningful.

People run from God in various ways.  They seek tranquility of heart by seeking out pleasure, laughter, wine, wisdom, building, houses, vineyards, gardens, parks, creativity, possessions, employment, music and sex (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11). All of those things, in and of themselves, may bring exhilarating pleasure. Yet when viewed as ways to find ultimate peace, joy and tranquility they fail. When the wisest of men, Solomon, looked back over his life he saw the pursuit of all of those things as worse than meaningless.  He came to the point where he hated his work, his toil and he fell into despair (16-23). He had everything but at the end of the day he had trouble sleeping (23).

Then he had a great awakening. He opened the door, turned the key and the light came on. There is a way to eat, drink, sing, dance, garden, build, gather and have sex that is truly enjoyable. There is a way but only one way. And when one finds the way his heart is filled with dancing and singing.

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil.  This also, I saw is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy...(24-25).

From eating, drinking, pleasure and work being meaningless--to it being described as nothing better, is quite a turn of mind. Life can be lived to the fullest when God is savored, loved and seen as the giver of good gifts. When God is worshipped as supreme then life can and should be enjoyed.

Lets bend those thoughts to marriage.  When the lady of Song of Solomon is asked about her husband she says, My beloved has gone down to his garden to the beds of spices, to graze in the gardens and to gather lilies. I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine; he grazes among the lilies (6:2-3).

The sheer pleasure of marriage that is described by Solomon in his Song is enjoyed to the utmost because it is received as from the hand of God.

Work, vacation, gardening and marriage can be enjoyed when we are able to sing I'd rather have Jesus than anything.