The tradition I grew up in taught us that the joys of the “world” were not truly joys. They were imposters sent out by the devil to trap us. The only true joys were to be had when we withdrew from the “world” and became a holy enclave. The devil was hiding around every corner trying to trip us up and make us Communists.

The Sage disagrees.

This is what I have seen to be good: it is fitting to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of the life God gives us; for this is our lot. Likewise all to whom God gives wealth and possessions and whom he enables to enjoy them, and to accept their lot and find enjoyment in their toil—this is the gift of God. For they will scarcely brood over the days of their lives, because God keeps them occupied with the joy of their hearts. Ecclesiastes 5:18–20 (NRSV)

There is a lot of negative stuff in Ecclesiastes, for sure. But this little passage is as positive as can be.

  • Enjoy the stuff God gave you.
  • Including food and drink and ephemeral stuff.
  • Because God gave it to you. That’s why.
  • Do you have a lot of stuff? Enjoy it.
  • Do you have only a little bit of stuff? Enjoy it anyway.
  • Because God gave it to you. That’s why.
  • Time flies when you’re having fun. Have fun.
  • Because God gave it to you.