The previous post in this series may be found here:https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/discipleship-includes-work/
Discipleship aims at conforming the human being to the image of Christ (Colossians 3:10).
It must, however, be remembered that, while in Christ I gain more blessings than my fathers lost, the very first business of the great scheme of redemption and instruction is the restoration of man to the Divine ideal of human life here. The man who most truly manifests the beauties of human life in all its bearings, most truly proves his progress toward and preparation for the glory that has not yet been revealed.
George Campbell Morgan. Discipleship. This conformity must extend to all areas of life. It cannot be denied that a human being needs both rest and work, labor and recreation:
It is equally true of a man who cannot play because his power to do so has become deadened by ceaseless toil. The power to laugh, to cease work, and frolic in forgetfulness of all the conflict, to make merry, is a Divine bestowment upon man, and its absence in any case is as sure a mark of the blighting effects of sin, as is the frothy life of the devotee of miscalled pleasure who never contributes anything to the work of his generation. This power is based upon the wisdom of God, and His knowledge of the needs of the creatures of His hand.
The wisdom of work and rest lies in the Fourth Commandment:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11.
God holds the blessing rest as a hope for this life. And thus the Mosaic command of rest pointed forward to the rest which is to come.
Now one may object, the command states that one must merely rest and to enjoy any festitivities. But such a cramped reading would exceed the Bible’s own teaching. Festivities were commanded under the Mosaic law; not merely in the ritual feasts but even in the tithe:
You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the LORD your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the LORD your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the LORD your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire-oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household. And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you. Deuteronomy 14:22-27
The Lord himself attended wedding feasts and made wine (John 2:1-11). He was condemned for eating with tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 9:10-13). The great hope of the Christian is to attend a wedding reception–indeed, the Lord’s Supper points forward to this meal (Mark 14:25). There is no prohibition against joy, friendship, physical activity.
Therefore, the scope of discipleship must extend to this area of life. Morgan notes only the limitation that such recreation must not be destructive, debasing sinful with respect to myself or to others. However, Morgan does not lay out any particular regime for such recreation:
I have purposely avoided naming any forms of play save those that would be looked upon as legitimate in proper time and place by almost every Christian. This avoidance has been due to the fact that I very strongly desire in this, as in every detail of life, to throw the disciple upon the Master for direct guidance, and this because I am persuaded there is no other safe course, because there is no other unfailing and infallible authority. Jesus makes a specialty of every individuality, and He alone can do this. That which may be perfectly lawful and right for me may be a sin to my brother, and that which I dare not do at the risk of losing my spiritual force, he may find conducive to his highest advancement. Let each one seek the Lord’s direct pleasure, and be true to that, and there can be no mistake; but by following human examples, or making others the standard of what one may or may not do, one will be constantly liable to get into places of positive danger.