Eat, Drink, and Be…?

Aug 31, 2010

“Eat, drink, and be guilty!” Oh, that’s not what Ecclesiastes 8:15 says, is it? The real quote from Solomon is: “So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun.” (NKJV)

This passage struck me yesterday for three reasons. In the morning I lounged on a beach chair with my toes in the sand under the ninety-degree sun of Ocean City, Maryland. In the afternoon, I sat at my favorite ice cream parlor eating a coffee and coconut ice cream hot-fudge sundae (with a double order of hot fudge and whipped cream). With the delights of the sun and the deliciousness of the sundae, I should have been merry. There were moments of merriness on the beach and in the booth, but guilt worked overtime to sabotage my enjoyment. “Shouldn’t you be doing something productive instead of wasting your time staring at the ocean ?” “Do you know how many calories are in that cute little 1950’s stainless steel ice cream dish?”

Why is so difficult for me to savor the joys of the moment? There are many passages in Scripture that admonish me to be careful about the joys of the flesh. But why do I give them more credence than the passages of freedom and merriment? It feels a little ungrateful. I have one more day to test the delights of sun, sand, and sundaes. Do I dare try for an encore performance of fudge-laden scoops of ice cream sans the maraschino cherry and guilt. Probably not. But at least I will look back at yesterday with a smile and a great big “Thank you, God.”