Thoughts from the Amusement Park
“But,” I said to my wife, “Do they look happy?”
We had gotten twilight tickets at a local amusement park. As I observed the various participants, I couldn’t help but notice the many shapes, sizes, ages, colors, and apparent income levels even. Some were forlorn, others mostly expressionless, all were tired.
“I think so,” she returned, “They don’t seem to be brining their problems with them.”
Of course, there was no way I could know what their individual problems were. But beyond that, I had to ask myself if people at an amusement park really should be happy.
Think about this for a minute: We go to an amusement park mostly for distraction and entertainment. At least, that was (I thought) mainly why I was there. So while I didn’t ride on any of the super-scary-thriller-upside-down-terrification-wonder-rides, I did have some French fries, rode the tram, and watched people.
“But what,” I found myself thinking, “Does amusement have to do with happiness? If it’s true that distraction and entertainment makes one happy, does that mean that concentration and work make one unhappy?”
Actually, it should be the other way around. A very wise man, after having considered the effect of entertainment and distractions, in reflection, said the following: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man. – Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV
This wisest man who ever lived apparently saw happiness as a by-product of fearing God and keeping His commandments. Solomon (the wise man) concluded that happiness comes through application and concentration rather than distraction and entertainment.
So if you’re unhappy, it’s not because the line was too long at the Tilt-a-Whirl or that the suck-me-into-the-vortex machine broke down. It just might be that, due to all the distraction and entertainment in your life, you’ve neglected your duty. Your whole duty.
~ Pastor Joel Saint