By Medford Caudill
Goshen, Indiana
    The old adage is that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” It may also be true that  “all play and no work makes Jack bored, broke, and bothersome.” We have more leisure time today than at any other period in the world’s history. The standard work day is only eight hours, while the work week is usually just five days. Our forefathers struggled, on the other hand, through ten or twelve hour days, six days a week. Sometime take a sheet of paper and a pencil with you all day and write down just exactly how you spend every minute of your day. You might be surprised at the actual amount of time you give over to T.V. watching, eating, or just doing nothing. You have a lot more time than you think.
    Time is important to a Christian because he knows that God has numbered his days. We only have a brief amount of time to serve God on this earth and ought to use it to the best of our ability to glorify Him. Like Jesus we ought to be about our Father’s business.
    A Christian needs to consider his leisure activities carefully. Perhaps the first question we ought to ask ourselves is, “Do we give too much time to play?” Play and amusement have their place in anyone’s life, but let’s make sure we put them in the right place. If work that needs to be done gets left undone because of recreation, we are devoting too much time to play. If we neglect any work of the Lord in order to amuse ourselves, we are devoting too much time to play.
    The second question we need to ask ourselves is, “Does our leisure activities hurt our Christian witness or our relationship with God?” There are some so-called recreational activities that are so immoral that any professing Christian will not have anything to do with them. The dance, for instance, would fall into this category. Dancing isn’t recreation - it is sin.
    The third question we need to ask is, “How much does this cost and is it the best use of my money?” We have all seen youngsters pouring quarters into video games. Now there is nothing wrong with occasionally playing Pac-man or donkey Kong. The constant use of money for those games that could be better spent elsewhere is wrong. Children may waste quarters but some adults waste far larger sums of money on recreation. How much does your play time cost you? Could that money be better used in the Lord’s work? A person who does not tithe, while spending money on any form of recreation, is robbing God and is spending God’s money for his own pleasure.
    It would be good for many Christians to adopt a more active play time. “Bodily exercise profiteth little”, but it does profit a little. Too many Christians especially preachers get too little exercise. Our bodies belong to the Lord. We are made in God’s image and present a very poor witness to the world when we are fat, lazy, and inactive.
    When a Christian enters a contest, whether it is a baseball game or a game of checkers, he ought to play as a Christian. A Christian does not cheat and does not bend the rules. He plays as hard as he can, but he plays fair. He is not a sore loser or a vain-glorious winner.
    What about the church and recreation? Jesus commissioned the church to do three things; namely, to preach the Gospel, baptize believers, and then teach them all things
commanded by God. (Matthew 28:18-20). No where does the Bible say it is a church’s  responsibility to provide recreation for her members.  We certainly find no example in the Bible of churches having softball teams or organizing skating or bowling nights. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with playing softball or bowling or skating. It simply is not the business of the church to sponsor and organize those activities.
    To sum it up, a Christian is a Christian twenty-four hours a day. He or she ought to act like a Christian twenty-four hours a day. At church, at home, at work, or at play – we ought to seek out those activities which help us to glorify God and witness of the saving love of Jesus Christ.
(This article originally appeared in the Baptist Examiner for January 14, 1984.)

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