‘Glamping’ (Glamorous Camping) is much more attractive than the rough ‘Camping’ of my younger years, and ‘Bed and Breakfasting’ even better. I’m getting ‘saft’ in my old age, yet given the challenge of roughing it with some fellow ‘up-for-it’ folk to walk / cycle / journey with, I’m ready to endure hugging a hard floored field for warmth and slumber, all for the banter, blessings of creation and sense of achievement.
It’s easy to seek comfort at the expense of growing up, whatever your age. Jim Packer describes the dangers of ‘Hot-tub Christianity’, a cushy, soul caressing, comfort inducing culture, which takes Christians and churches down ‘dead’ ends of idolatry.
Since World War 2, Western living standards have risen. ‘Easy Living’ received on a plate from parents results in some taking longer to grow up and appreciate life. There aren’t the rites of passage, like doing national service or being sent into the woods to fend for self and come back an adult. I’m told that Generation Y (aged 20-35) are more likely to commit to values and causes which ‘Give Something Back’ than Generation X (35-50). But I’m also aware how skin-deep altruism can be in a society which tends to hog and hug comfort and personal prosperity.
King Solomon got his comfortable kingdom on a plate from dad David. He started off well, building the Jerusalem Temple to God’s glory and asking for spiritual Wisdom to rule well, but, through time, he got ‘saft in heid and he’rt’!
“Solomon had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.” (1 Kings 11:3-4 / NIV)
Don’t blame it on your wives Solomon! Is it any wonder he slumped so far from God? We too can elevate relationships, activities and attitudes above God. Something that starts as innocent friendship becomes an affair to distract and draw us from God. Family, Money, Work, Exercise, Leisure, Hobbies and many other things, good in themselves, once given the ‘main thing’ status, take God’s place. We end up far from Christ’s Word, The Spirit’s Voice and Father’s Heart. “Anything for an easy life!” is one of many attitudes which can replace the dedication of earlier committed years.
It’s thought that Solomon may have come to his senses towards his life’s end, when the book of Ecclesiastes was written. In Ecclesiastes the boundaries of living are pushed with sobering, life-affirming conclusions. Chapter 3, speaks of ‘a time to be born and a time to die, etc’ a time for every activity under heaven. Time is opportunity! To be used wisely and well, enjoying life to the full, accountable to God.
Working in the same church for 27 years runs the risk of rut and getting my own way too easily. Holding myself accountable to others (under God) is critical to ensuring that, in my 55th year I don’t go spiritually ‘glamping’ and remember ‘one thing is needed’ – to centre our life on King Jesus (Luke 10:42).
‘Hot-tub’ parable: Allegedly, a frog placed in boiling water will jump out, but put in lukewarm water and brought to the boil, it’ll swim around happily till death. Please don’t try this at home!