With the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, the air will be abuzz with thoughts of gratitude and “peace on earth, good will toward men.” Certainly this kind of buzz is a good thing; but our society is increasingly abuzz with getting “a buzz” as well. Much of the information in this article comes from The Briefing (11-3-17)—a daily program by Albert Mohler which looks at daily events from a Christian perspective.
The buzz of alcohol has damaged many families and lives throughout the United States and is responsible for a diminishing of sensibility and impaired judgment. Add to that the desire of certain alcohol companies wanting to get in on the ground floor of infusing marijuana into their beverages and one can only imagine the droves of college students and others seeking out this latest promise of “buzz.” Seeking a “first-mover advantage” The Wall Street Journal reports that the Corona brewer will invest nearly $200 million in a Canadian marijuana grower, with plans to develop cannabis-infused drinks. Yes, this company is “chasing a new kind of buzz,” according to the aforementioned article.
Maybe some of you are thinking, “The Corona brewery is way out there; no one else would even be thinking about this ‘first-mover advantage’ dream.” Well, according to this same article, “A spokesman for Heineken USA said, ‘Wine and spirits are not sitting still, and marijuana is being legalized in many states.’ He said, ‘We have to act now, and we have to do it together.’”
He’s right; marijuana is being legalized in many states; this brings with it moral dilemmas that requires our consideration. Though not a state, Washington D.C. made the use of recreational marijuana legal in 2014 but it remained illegal to sell. However, entrepreneurial ingenuity created a loophole with the intent of justice getting stuck in a “pot”hole. How does one get around the intent of the law? Sell a t-shirt for $45 and give a “free gift” of marijuana on the side!
A mid-October Briefing informs us “that seven days a week in the District of Columbia, there is some kind of cannabis oriented event going on, in which, as the article says, there are for sale, $50 baseball caps and $80 sweatshirts, and you get a free gift of marijuana … again, on the side. Now, according to this article, that's seven days a week.”
Add to this the fact that some fast food restaurants want to get their share of alcohol sales and the buzz gets louder still. Just think of the entrepreneurial possibilities! Will the sales of cannabis infused beer, in these fast food joints, cause an increase in their food sales as marijuana “drinkers” get the munchies? Even if not, according to a global restaurant consultant quoted in USA Today, adding alcohol sales to ones food ticket is a great way to “drive revenue without having to drive traffic.”
Sometimes a buzz just comes from the feeling of being special. Some coffee drinkers in southern California are paying $55 dollars for a cup of coffee, according to MSN and USA Today. Can I afford it? It doesn’t matter as long as I get that special buzz, right? But it’s not a caffeinated buzz—it’s that buzz that says, “I am drinking a $55 cup of coffee or a $10 bottle of water. I AM special.” Status symbols can give us such a buzz! (eye roll…)
Finally, how can one write an article on feeling a buzz without mentioning gambling? Whether it’s gambling on the LOTTO, betting on sports, or the comfort of gambling online from one’s own home, America is abuzz and entranced with elusive dreams of getting lots of something for “almost nothing.”
Mohler again reports: “USA Today says, and I quote, ‘Overall, the chance of winning any prize will go from 1 in 15 to 1 in 24 with the changes.’ And that's any prize. Most of these prizes are financially insignificant masking the fact that gamblers have actually lost far more money than they may claim or even believe in an instant that they have won. That tells us something else about human nature. Someone who goes week after week, week after week risking say $2 or $10 a week and then wins a $50 prize may be very, very happy about that $50 prize, imagining, only having invested say the $2 to $10 in that given week. Left behind is the fact that they've actually been investing hundreds and hundreds of dollars; that's how the lottery works, that's what these states that offer these lotteries depend upon.”
According to a New York Times article, former “NFL Today” host, Brent Musburger, believes that sports betting is going to become legal within three years; and quotes him as saying, “You are not stopping gambling. … Learn to live with it and move on.”
Why is gambling such a buzz? According to BrainFacts.org, “The evidence indicates that gambling activates the brain's reward system in much the same way that a drug does.”
There have been huge increases in online gambling; some of this can be attributed to not having to go to a casino—being able to gamble from the comfort of your own home. Other reasons may include the lessening negative stigma of gambling, the fact that new players can begin with “play money,” the ability to win money at home, and younger gamblers who would be turned away from casinos are able to gamble online.
Whether one is talking about drugs, alcohol, gambling, or other risky behaviors…the brain is abuzz with addictive activity. On the other hand, family, holidays, and warm fuzzy feelings abound with a positive buzz too.
For Christians, there is a thrill in serving God that is more complete, more satisfying, and is longer lasting than any buzz drawn from the thrill of a gamble or the pleasure of family and friends gathering together. This fulfillment only comes through walking by faith in obedience to Jesus. The deepness of devotion is well articulated in the hymn that resounds, “All that thrills my soul is Jesus; He is more than life to me…”
Joshua 1:7 calls us to such fulfilling obedient faith. It tells us to be strong and very courageous, SO THAT we can be obedient to the whole commanding and leading of God. Here, we are also given a promise to prosper if we will adhere strictly to God’s Word. It’s not a gamble, because God ALWAYS keeps His Word. But it certainly can get one’s adrenalin flowing as one steps into uncertain territory, knowing that our Redeemer is faithful and that our reward is sure.
During the upcoming holidays, share the thrill of the gospel, watch the Lord add to the Kingdom family, and live in the joy of the Lord with a heart full of gratitude that outweighs any “buzz” this world has to offer.
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