Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In the News: Fun and Happiness

Image David Feherty is a former professional golfer who now hosts a talk show on the Golf Channel, and is known to be an entertaining and funny person. He is also an alcoholic, who used to down Irish whiskey and prescription pain killers in prodigious amounts. His addictions led to serious thoughts of suicide, and his self-destructive behavior continued for many years until he finally got it under control about six years ago.

In a Fort Worth Star-Telegram interview with Jimmy Burch, published on May 16, 2012, Feherty talked about his mindset while under the thumb of his alcohol and drug addictions:

“The alcoholic confuses fun with happiness. He thinks fun leads to happiness. But things couldn’t be more different. Happiness leads to fun.”

This seems to be a problem with more than just the alcoholic. The idea that fun leads to happiness has led to dissolution, disappointment and disaster in countless lives. The writer of Ecclesiastes considered the thought, and wrote, “I said in my heart, ‘Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure’; but surely, this also was vanity. I said of laughter- ‘Madness!’; and of mirth, ‘What does it accomplish?’” (Ecclesiastes 2:1-2). In this quote he was not condemning laughter or mirth, only the pursuit of such to its own end. All of Ecclesiastes is written as a pursuit of ends without respect to God. There are many today who believe that happiness can be found by “going for the gusto”, and by removing all limits to self-gratification. If it is fun, it is a worthwhile pursuit, whether the enticement is drugs, drinking, sex, or whatever other prurient activity captures the fancy.

Never mind the evidence to the contrary. The tide of broken homes, disease and broken lives does not stem the desire for pleasure. Those who believe that “fun leads to happiness” are fools.

“Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my reward for all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had one and on the labor in which had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun (Ecclesiastes 2:10-12).

In contrast, the Psalmist wrote, “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God” (Psalm 146:5). The Christian does not need food or wine to have fun. He does not have to devise schemes with dissolute friends, or regret a night’s behavior in the harsh light of the morning. He has fun because he is happy. His life is delightful because of his relationship to his God. In fact, it can be said that he is happy even when he is not having fun. As Peter wrote, “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled” (1 Peter 3:14, KJV).

Do you want to be happy in life? Don’t search for it through the pursuit of pleasure. That is the devil’s way, and it leads to eternal ruin. Instead, serve God, and happiness will come. And a happy life is a life that is “fun” in every important way. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Remember, true happiness comes through fulfillment, not mindless and desperate quests for a “good time.”