Family Fun Gods Way

by Chris Lynch

Mom with young children outside smiling and laughing

Is your home fun? Does daily laughter characterize the relationships in your family? Is your home a place where enjoyment and recreation are a priority and are pursued together? Do you pursue regular out-of-routine recreation as a family unit? Conversely, could too much of an emphasis on fun be damaging? And are these questions even all that crucial for a dad to consider?

The topic of whether a family “has fun together” seems relatively unimportant compared to many other topics we could consider. But we as husbands and fathers are called to lead in all areas of daily family life, and how your family prioritizes and pursues enjoyment and recreation matters! As we’ll see, God’s Word has valuable truths to communicate about this topic, so family fun provides us with a wonderful opportunity to lead biblically.

The Bible does give us some guidelines to consider about how important family fun nights, goofy traditions, and even silly moments at the dinner table are to the health of a family—even the spiritual health of a family. It also provides principles that can help us find appropriate moderation in our family fun. Our purpose in this article isn’t to evaluate certain entertainment content or the merit of one activity or another but rather the value and priority of enjoyment, fun, and recreation as a family. Here are a few principles to consider.

Enjoyment as recreation and rest is important.

And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. (Mark 6:31)

Jesus himself saw the need for rest for himself and for those he was leading. The group Jesus led had many of the same purposes as a family (discipleship, growth, service, and training), and Jesus’ role in their midst was one of spiritual leadership (not unlike our role as dads). It’s good to prioritize refreshment!

Life is busy and full. A family with a schedule full of even the most spiritually healthy priorities faces burnout. Burnout can limit your family’s effectiveness in service to God and can even produce impatience and frustration in the home.

Your family needs “recreation” in the purest sense of the word. “Re-create” your bodies and spirits through restful, refreshing times. And doing that together has the additional value of refreshing your relationships with one another!

Enjoyment is good.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)

Like a medicine, wholesome enjoyment heals, salves, and strengthens us. You may have heard another translation of this same verse: “laughter does good like a medicine.” It’s true! God has ordained personal benefits that come from enjoyment, both for individuals and families. Ecclesiastes 11:9 shares a similar truth specifically directed at young people—who likely exist in your family if you’re reading this blog.

Inner joy and its external indicators are gifts from God. He desires enjoyment, and he intentionally gives it. (We’ll see this in another passage below.) As a father, I must initiate laughter and enjoyment in my home simply because it is good for my family.

Remember how God’s Word defines “good” for a family—unity, love, closeness, and mutual growth. Enjoyment can foster unity. It can be a part of the process of healing past lingering conflict. It can create opportunities for fellowship. It’s healthy!

Enjoyment offsets the toil of life in God’s plan.

And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 8:15)

The concept of joy here in this verse refers to the enjoyment of the good gifts God has given. Work is part of God’s plan for mankind, and the presence of sin has made that work toilsome. But God has not left us without things to enjoy; opportunities for recreation exist in the midst of toilsome life.

Teach your children to appreciate the enjoyable gifts of life, and model that enjoyment yourself through pursuing those gifts as you lead! A hike together escapes the routine but also reminds them of the beauty God has made for our pleasure and his glory. Scheduling meals out as a family (or a special meal at home!) reminds them of the God-intended enjoyment of eating and drinking. Enjoy God’s good gifts.

Pursuing enjoyment requires balance.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven… a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4)

I recently heard a female friend (who is also a mom) retort that “the dad is always the fun parent,” and it wasn’t a compliment! Dads can tend to prioritize fun at the expense of other vital family priorities.

I like to have fun. But my light-hearted personality and nature tend to prioritize fun too much. I’ve been known to lead my children in goofiness at the dinner table to the point where standards of manners and decorum have been compromised!

Guys, family life includes important, lesson-packed times of sobriety and seriousness, too. My children are tempted to live from one fun activity to the next, loathing the God-ordained but less fun responsibilities in between. Dads, we must lead our families to pursue enjoyment and recreation in balance with all other family priorities.

Conclusion: Remember the Ultimate Source of enjoyment.

Take a moment to read Psalm 16:11, Psalm 126:2-3, and 1 Timothy 6:17. The principle that jumps off the page in all these passages is vitally important for us to remember. The source of gladness—for us individually or for our families—is not in the good gifts we are enjoying but rather in the Giver of those good gifts.

Teach and model for your family that a vibrant walk with God is the ultimate source of joy, refreshment, and fulfillment—not the next fun thing. As we prioritize HIM, these other enjoyable gifts will serve as tools to honor him. Truly, “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad.”

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