1.the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life
2.a way of life based on or suggesting the principles of hedonism
1.heroic conduct especially as exhibited in fulfilling a high purpose or attaining a noble end
2.the qualities of a hero
I hope I’m known as a godly woman. I’d also like to be known as; kind, loving, empathetic, compassionate, joyful, fun, artistic, enigmatic, happy, fit, loyal, dedicated, energetic, hardworking, spunky…
OK I’d like to be known as a lot of things but mostly for honoring God, doing good and loving life. If that is how I do life, doesn’t that bring God glory? I’m grateful for what He’s given me; this body, this earth, these friends and family. I embrace the blessings I have and reach out to make the world a better place.
Fun and service. It’s biblical: “So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 8:15. King Solomon’s whole ecclesiastical meandering is; respect God & love life because there’s really no other point.
When I think about it, if evil were eradicated, if the kingdom of heaven were here, if we all operated on God’s principals what more would there be to do than to love God, have fun and do good?
God is love and God is good… and God is fun! Look at the mountains to climb, lakes to swim, animals, plants... the sights, smells, sounds and feelings all around us. It’s good!
There’s my justification.
Here’s my confession: I most definitely tended toward hedonism. In its purist form, as long as I took God with me, honored Him in my pursuits and loved others, I didn’t see wrong in that.
And then something happened…
A squishy feeling started to wax like the moon inside me, slowly night by night, until it was full. It was like watching an old Batman show...
There I was, having fun, loving God and… “Meanwhile somewhere in Gotham a little girl was being molested, a little boy was starving to death… TO DEATH! A man beat his wife and a woman shoved a needle in her arm…”
But I was having fun, and I was a good person, and I was honoring God. Besides, every time I thought about the evil in the world it overwhelmed me. There’s so much evil! How can I make a change? Evil is too big, my heart too small to handle the pain. Better to look away and … maybe say a prayer for that little girl, whom I identified with so deeply.
But I said a prayer when I was her. I remember my prayer... Help! Why God, won’t anyone help me? believe me? listen to me? see what’s happening and stop the bad guy!?
I wondered, could I help someone? I mean, I’d still have fun but maybe help a little too.
First I gave money. Just enough to make me feel better. I could support a Paralyzed Vet for a one-time donation of $5 and hold my head high. It started to feel like a pay off. $5 here, $10 there and I could do what I wanted and not feel guilty about that elderly shut-in who hadn’t seen another person in five days, but it’s OK because their adult grandchild would bring them groceries and sit with them for an hour on the weekend.
I decided I ought to give time and talent too. But then… Oh, the horror! A thought occurred to me… I think I have a Savior complex! I figured I better not do anything than do something because I wanted to save someone. I cannot save a single soul. I’m not Christ and even He gives us the choice.
Still it didn’t feel right turning my head away when I had time, money and ability to do something.
I found ways, not to save but to serve, in the name of Jesus, and to ease the squishy in my heart. I believe in advocating for abused and neglected children. I focus on kids as much as I can.
Serving has become a way of life. Not because I can save the world (although I think all good people like the idea of being heroic) but because it feels good, and it makes sense to ease the pain of others.
What gets me is wasted opportunity to help… Why doesn’t the Watershed festival take 15 or 20 minutes to talk about the Wounded Warriors and ask for donations? Those country-loving, beer-drinking cowboys there would be happy to throw $5s or $20s by the thousands in that plate! Why can’t entry into a run include a donated pair of shoes for kids in parasite infested developing countries? Why don’t restaurants give a portion of their proceeds EVERY week to charity… and why don’t we (or me, hedonist, me) patronize them on that day? Can’t I have fun AND make the world better? Can’t we profit AND bless? Shouldn’t we, the most blessed people and country in the world be the most kind, loving and generous?
And now the call out...
To my Christian brothers and sisters, having fun, doing good, loving God and maybe not pulling your weight. I’m not trying to judge, but if I do judge, it is you, my family, I have right to judge. If you feel that squishy inside… you know you ought to do something! You are light! If you know the good you ought to do and do not do it… you sin! GO, be light, be salt, be real, relevant ambassadors of Christ! Find your ministry, give your money, time and talents to serve God and serve others… and have fun!!!
To the rest, you are blessed! Pay it forward! Fight for those too weak to fight for themselves! Be a hero! Find a cause you care about and participate. Use your money, your time and your talent to make the world better.
Go ahead, be a hedonist… and while you’re at it, be a hero too…