Toward a Theology of Hobbies, Part 9

by Lee Anderson Jr. —

Do you enjoy your hobby?

You might be surprised to find out how many people are involved with hobbies that they do not actually like. What keeps them involved? Commonly, their involvement stems from some kind of peer pressure—whether coming from a friend, a relative, or a social group (perhaps in the workplace, or even at church). Regrettably, for those who get wrapped up in hobbies they do not actually enjoy, it takes away from the time, energy, and resources they could otherwise devote to things they truly like. In a sense, they sacrifice their uniqueness.

God has created each person as an individual (Psalms 119:73; 139:13–16), complete with their own special personality. God did not fashion us on an assembly line, and there is no human “cookie cutter” form. We are each as unique as our fingerprints. And like our fingerprints, there may be variations on some common patterns, but we remain unique individuals. Yes, parents and friends have some role in helping to shape our unique makeup—but the fact remains there is no one else in the world exactly like you or exactly like me. This reality showcases the greatness of God’s creative wisdom. He could have made us all the same, but He didn’t.

For us as Christians, we recognize that the individuality of each person allows for them to pursue their own unique interests and hobbies. The different things that fascinate us are, at least in part, a product of the distinctiveness the Lord has engrained in each individual. Accordingly, it is healthy for us to pursue our own unique interests (provided, naturally, they are in line with the biblical principles we have considered in the earlier parts of this series). We need not feel that we must conform to a particular pattern or specific category of interests when it comes to cultivating our hobbies. We are free, by God’s grace, to pursue what fascinates us.

Just because Tom’s co-workers at the office get together on weekends to watch college football games does not mean that he needs to make a hobby out of following football. He ought to feel free to pursue whatever interests he has. Likewise, just because the ladies’ prayer group at church currently is working on crocheting projects together, it does not mean that Sharon should feel compelled to join them. It is perfectly fine that she enjoys miniature golf instead. Although, as I mentioned in the last post, some hobbies lend themselves to a social engagement, but that does not mean we are compelled to share our hobby with others. By the same token, while it may be a nice thing to invite others to join with us in our personal interests, we should not pressure others to get involved in our hobby—no matter how fascinating it is to us (or how trendy it might be). In this, we respect the fact that God has created us all as individuals with unique areas of interest. We need to let others seek out their own interests and hobbies, and avoid the faulty presumption that our Christianity limits us to certain interests and activities that are popular within the church. Granting that we must consider the biblical principles which govern how we are to approach the subject of hobbies, we are at liberty to pursue what we truly enjoy.

Having come to the close of this series, in looking at the scriptural teaching that frames how we think about hobbies, I believe we must continually return to the theme of seeking God’s glory as that which is most central to the topic. If we are truly endeavoring to glorify God, then we will not risk violating the other biblical principles that we have examined (things such as the responsible use of our time and money, avoiding idolatry, sensitivity to the consciences of fellow Christians, and so on). Beyond this, though, I believe that the Lord is also glorified when we, as people lovingly and uniquely created, pursue the interests that are unique to us. If our call is to glorify God in everything we do (1 Corinthians 10:31), then it naturally makes sense to strive to glorify Him in that which we, individually, truly love to do.

Do you enjoy your hobby? I hope you do, and I hope too that in it you take pleasure in seeking to glorifying our Lord. That is a wonderful thing indeed.

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