Question:

Hello,

Thank you for your tireless work towards teaching God's Word and helping people understand the truth! I can appreciate the amount of hard work necessary to provide the amount of material found here. It truly is a great resource for those of us looking for biblical answers to everyday questions.

I was baptized and became a Christian about five years ago and have been a member of a local church of Christ since then. Sadly, due to my own lack of study, I did not realize some important things which I have learned about through your articles and Q&A section. I have been in sort of a state of shock wondering what sin exists in my life out of pure ignorance of God's Word. I understand the only way to fix this is get busy studying and learning what I should have already known by now.

Of the several questions that concern me, one is whether or not Christians should be involved in expensive hobbies. I understand that in general some hobbies are neither right nor wrong, but can become a problem if we put them before God. I understand that they are not to interfere with worshiping God, studying God's Word, and the responsibilities He expects of us.

For a number of years, I have been involved in electronics, amateur radio, and radio control aircraft. It started off with small and simple participation, and then over the years, progressed to ever more complex and expensive forms of the hobbies. I have learned a lot of interesting things, and enjoy meeting and helping others with what I have learned.

I have spent a lot of money on these hobbies in the past and this is what concerns me. Expensive purchases do not occur frequently, but over time small purchases can add up. I am not in financial debt toward these hobbies, or anything else for that matter except for a relatively low house mortgage (which I am paying down). Hobby spending always comes last after all other financial responsibilities have been met.

Is it wrong for a Christian to spend a lot of money on leisure activities such as expensive hobbies? Is this an indication that a hobby has become overly consuming? Am I being wreck less with what God has provided me? Could I be giving a bad example of how a Christian should behave by having expensive hobbies?

Thank you for taking the time to read my message.


Answer:

Many hobbies can be expensive. Computers, photography, fishing, collecting, etc. all have the potential for consuming large amounts of money. But it isn't just money, it can also consume a great deal of time as well. Instead of looking at how much a hobby costs, look at what it might be preventing you from doing.

In the extreme, if a hobby is keeping you from putting food on the table, then clearly there is a problem. "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (I Timothy 5:8). But there are also other priorities that a hobby might destroy. "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21). A hobby that steals time from serving God is not a worthy hobby.

A valuable hobby is one that can produce income as a back up to your usual job. "In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good" (Ecclesiastes 11:6). For example, I enjoy computers, so I repair computers and teach computer classes once in a while for fun. The money I make serves to pay for my hobby purchases, but I also use it for a fund to help people; and one time when I suddenly lost about a quarter of my support in one month, that same hobby -- stepped up -- filled in the missing income for a number of months.

Some hobbies keep you in touch with more people. Some provide a much needed distraction from the stresses of everyday life. So long as a hobby doesn't prevent you from accomplishing the things you are called on to do as a Christian living in this world, it is not wrong.

Amateur radio can become a service to others, serving as an aid in the event of disasters. In an emergency, the skills you develop can be applied to a number of areas of employment. So long as it doesn't get out of hand, it isn't wrong.