Pastor Jim Melvin
The quote “moderation in all things” has been attributed to many people. The earliest reference that I can find is Socrates who lived about 400 years before Christ. In other words, it’s not a new idea. We live in a time and in a culture where we are presented with call kinds of opportunity for excess. Our use of alcohol most often encourages us to abandon moderation. In my experience as a pastor, alcohol abuse is THE leading cause of personal and family problems.
I’m not a teetotaler. I vividly remember my German grandpa giving me my first drink of beer in a little white glass when I was four years old. Martin Luther, the namesake of my faith said, “Whoever drinks beer, he is quick to sleep; whoever sleeps long, does not sin; whoever does not sin, enters Heaven! Thus, let us drink beer!” Of course, Luther’s intemperate drinking, overeating, and generally unhealthy lifestyle contributed to his death of a heart attack at age 62.
The use of alcohol is assumed in the Bible. For one thing, unsafe drinking water was sanitized by the addition of wine. Wine was seen to have medicinal effects. 1 Timothy 5:23 says, “No longer drink only water, but take a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.”
On the other hand, the Bible is also full of the ill effects of drinking. There are many examples in both the Old and New Testaments of people who abused alcohol to their own misfortune or doom. Proverbs 22:29-30 vividly describes the effects of overconsumption.
“Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
Those who linger late over wine,
those who keep trying mixed wines.”
Once again, moderation in all things. The problem with alcohol use, however, is that it can short-circuit our well meaning attempts toward moderation. Ralph Waldo Emerson added to the maxim. He said, “Moderation in all things, especially moderation.” There are times when moderation just won’t do. In those cases, of which are many, the answer is abstinence.
Do you crave alcohol or feel a need to drink? Do you drink alone or in secret? Is drinking affecting your work or your relationships? Are you unable to control the amount of alcohol you drink once you start? If so, moderation in drinking is probably not the answer for you. Seek out professional help. Talk to your doctor or call a local Twelve Step Program which you can find online.
God Bless, Pastor Jim