Echoes From the Campfire

Kinda makes a fella hope he never git rich so he doesn’t git struck down with stupidity.”

                    –John Hansen  (The Outfit)

       “The righteous will see it and be amazed.  They will laugh and say, ‘Look at what happens to mighty warriors who do not trust in God.  They trust their wealth instead and grow more and more bold in their wickedness.'”
                    –Psalm 52:6-7 (NLT)
Whoopti-yay, watch out, here I come.  That’s a simple paraphrase of Ecclesiastes 2:1-2, “I said to myself, ‘Come now, let’s give pleasure a try.  Let’s look for the “good things” in life.  But I found that this, too, was meaningless.  It is silly to be laughing all the time,’ I said.  ‘What good does it do to seek only pleasure?'” (NLT)  The NKJV translates verse 2, “I said of laughter–‘Madness!’–; and of mirth, ‘What does this accomplish?'”
       So many people now see only happiness.  If it makes you happy that’s all that counts.  That is hogwash.  There is much more to life than happiness.  People use it as an excuse to compromise the Scriptures.  We see here the person who has spent his life doing what was right in his own eyes, and he now calls it “Madness.”  Pleasure, here I come, was his motto.  The humanistic view of if it feels good, do it, became his way of life.  Pleasure-seeking usually becomes a selfish endeavor and selfishness destroys pure joy.  Pleasure appeals to only part of the person and ignores the total being.  No wonder there are so many “How To” books.  There has to be a solution given to coping with life, or to at least look like you’re coping.
       Have you ever considered the palace of Solomon and its extravagance?  First Kings 4:22-23 gives us an indication, “Solomon’s provisions for one day were 150 bushels of fine flour and 300 bushels of meal, 10 fattened oxen, 20 range oxen, and 100 sheep, besides deer, gazelles, roebucks, and pen-fed poultry.” (HCSB)  It was truly “eat, drink, and be merry,” and what did it leave you with?  A huge stomach ache.
       And laughter.  “A merry heart does good, like medicine…” (Proverbs 17:22, NKJV), but hold on–“Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.” (Proverbs 14:13, NLT)  Laughter is nice, but it can also be used to conceal insecurities or sorrow.  Then add to the reasons for entertainment.  Is it to laugh, have a good time, or to escape from reality.  Listen, no matter what you try in regard to entertainment, there is no escape from reality.  You escape, go into your little cave, and when you come out there it is smack dab in your face.  Why do you think so many hours are played with video games?  Escape, but there is no escape.
       One of the things I cannot stand is “canned laughter.”  Watch sit-coms, which I dislike, they have to include canned laughter.  Why?  If it’s funny I’ll laugh, if not I won’t and much of what “they” think is funny I don’t.  Late night jokesters who now try to play politics–hmm, well maybe they are on to something.  Remember, royalty used to have a court jester to make him laugh, to help him out of a bad mood, to make life jovial.  Ha, it doesn’t work that way.  Let me close today with this story by Charles Swindoll.

               A distrubed and deeply troubled individual went to a psychiatrist to relieve his anxiety.  He awoke melancholy every morning, and he went to bed in the evening deeply depressed.  His day was marked by darkness and clouds.  He couldn’t find relief for this anxiety.  In his desperate condition, he decided to seek the counsel of a medical doctor.  The psychiatrist listened to him for almost an hour.  Finally, he leaned toward the patient and said to him, “You know, there’s a local show at a theater.  I understand a new Italian clown has come into our city, and he’s leaving ’em in the aisles.  He’s getting rave reviews from the critics.  Maybe he is the one that will bring back your happiness.  Why don’t you go see this professional clown and laugh your troubles away?”
               With a handdog expression, the patient muttered, “Doctor, I am that clown.”