December 24, 2007 Ration

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

“There is nothing better for a man 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?”

Apart from God, nothing would exist. All things are from Him, through Him and to Him. I would not be if God did not make me. My existence is not apart from God. Food would not be, let alone be in such vast variety, if God did not conceive of it, determine how it would be nourishing and pleasing to a body, and produce it by commanding the earth to “sprout vegetation” and the animals to “be fruitful and multiply.” Food is not apart from God. Even a step further; that there is food available to me – whether from the grocery store, a friend’s dinner invitation, a food shelf, a food line, the food of the forest floor – whatever the means, it is all a provision to me from the hand of God. My particular skill set that I toil with all my days I only have because of God’s endowment of that skill to me. I do not have any skill apart from God. I am His creature. That the body takes pleasure in food and sound and light and color and thought and friend is exactly how God designed the body to work. My ability to take enjoyment in various ways is not apart from God. Apart from God, there is nothing! And this is what Solomon sees.

This means that God, when He created all things as He did to be pleasurable in their own way, knew pleasure and desired that I take enjoyment in what He enjoyed to create.

So I have to ask the question: are our pleasures a pleasure in the Lord? Do we enjoy the Lord in what He has made enjoyable? Or do we just enjoy what He made enjoyable? This seems to be the question that Solomon’s rhetorical question forces upon us. First, do we understand that our pleasures are not apart from God? And if so, is the enjoyment of God the end of our enjoyment of what we find pleasurable?

Here is the great danger, artist. We are able, by God’s design, to enjoy our artistic pleasures without enjoying any affections towards God. God has designed that our senses still work whether or not our affections are working rightly. The atheist enjoys art in this way all the time. And we are brothers of the atheist heart when our enjoyments in anything do not send our affections Godward. Our senses can behold and enjoy what God has created enjoyable, while our mind and heart can suppress the truth that their Author is God. In this case, we open ourselves up to all kinds of error and sin. The result of our errors and sin is that we miss out on the full potential for pleasure that the Lord has for us to enjoy in what He has made to be enjoyable – our enjoyment of God Himself!

Artists, until our minds are renewed to enjoy God in all that He has made enjoyable, we will never fully enjoy any pleasure. It is, in fact, this ignorance (or truth suppression) that leads us to prostitute in so many ways with what God has made enjoyable. Renew your minds by the Word of God, artist. Grow in the knowledge of God. He makes Himself known through His creation, through His Word (the Bible), and most fully and clearly through His Son – the image of the invisible God.

We must see what Solomon sees, “…for apart from God, who can eat or who can have enjoyment?” Artist, enjoy your Author in your pleasures. He gives them to you that you could better know Him.

Jason Harms


© 2007 The Gaius Project