Are You Not Entertained? :: By Grant Phillips

Russell Crowe, as General Maximus Decimus Meridius, in the 2000 movie, “Gladiator,” said those words while in the arena fighting as a gladiator.  The Roman citizens loved to be entertained. The Greeks were heavy into entertainment. Most civilizations are, but could any previous generation top ours of today? I wonder.

It is only my opinion, but even though our entertainment may not be as gory, in the ‘public’ arena, I doubt that any previous generation could out-do us in the entertainment field. Music, art, sports, movies, television episodes, etc. are all about entertainment. Perhaps I should say that entertainment is all about keeping the masses entertained via music, art, sports, movies, television episodes, etc.

Even the darker side of the human soul is thrilled by events such as illegal dog fights, cock fights, and other activities I haven’t the stomach to even mention.

If you’ll think about it, most entertainment, if not all, actually has no intrinsic value for the welfare of our souls. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with entertainment per se, but shouldn’t we ask, “How is it affecting my soul toward God?”

Some Christians may argue that Christian music blesses their soul. That’s wonderful. David used it to calm the deviant soul of Saul with music on the harp  (1 Samuel 16:23), but it was never permanent. Maybe we need to look for what is permanent; that thing that will carry us through the thick and thin of life.

As I have already noted, there are many forms of entertainment, and music, for example, is just one of them. I enjoy music as much as anyone else. I have been intimately acquainted with music from my earliest memories. I allow my emotions to enjoy the right kind of music, but I do not allow the music to control my emotions, if that makes sense.

Music is a powerful drug to the soul. It can elicit strong emotions; emotions such as peace, happiness, heartache, and even rage, which can produce calm, smiles, tears, and even murder.

We also entertain ourselves with puzzles, crosswords, and electronic games (the rage of today’s youth especially). Yes, entertainment comes in all forms, and human beings love to be entertained.

This year’s Super Bowl game is now behind us and all the talk is about the come-back of one team over the other to seal the win. The stands were full and the television sets throughout our land were tuned in to another spectacular show of entertainment. Some watch this event for the game itself, others for the commercials, and still others for the half-time show. (By the way, we didn’t watch it, so I’m using second-hand information.) It is now three days from that “glorious” event, and my question is, “Does the emotional high from this event still exist?” (By the way, again, the half-time shows have gotten too filthy too watch.)

Before I’m attacked for “hating sports,” I’ll inform you that I too watch sports, but sports aren’t the most important thing in my life, and neither is music. My wife and I enjoy good movies, but we can work the “off” button just as easily as the “on” button.

Have you ever considered that so much of our lives are involved with being entertained? Again, that isn’t necessarily wrong. Who could not enjoy watching small children in a play or listening to them sing or play an instrument. What joy we have in watching children in their sports’ activities.

What about television? We have to look much harder than we did fifty years ago, but eventually you can find something worthwhile on the living room god (and every other room in the house now days). One question; can you turn it off? I’ve been in homes where every television set in the house played constantly, only to be turned off at bedtime.

Reading a good book is another entertainment that I haven’t even mentioned. Notice, I said “good” book. Reading is not as widely practiced today since we can have our thrill pill electronically administered, but it is something that is relaxing. There are so many experiences one can enjoy by reading a good book. Unfortunately, there is plenty of trash on the shelves also, and far too many gravitate in that direction.

Are we not entertained? Oh yes, we most certainly are. Many of our citizenry crave the emotional high so much; they wander off into dangerous territories to entertain their mind with illicit drugs. This form of entertainment is destroying lives, and not just the lives of those who are under its spell, but also the lives of their families.

Whatever it is in your life you enjoy as entertainment, enjoy it, but don’t allow it to overcome you. Rule of thumb: if you can enjoy the entertainment with Jesus standing beside you, then do so, because He is, if you are a Christian. Set your mind upon Christ.

“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2)

Good, clean entertainment will not harm us and can even brighten our day, but it is not something that lasts. It is not something that will carry us through life. If we depend on entertainment for happiness, we will never find it. We will always be reaching for one more “pill” to bring us the emotional high we crave. Bad entertainment will quickly destroy our soul and pull us further and further away from true happiness.

Earthly entertainment is like sugar; first a quick burst and then a quick let-down. Where can true happiness be found? What can really satisfy my soul and not fade away? Read Matthew 5:3-12 and replace the word “blessed” with the word “happy.” The Greek word “makarios” means, “blessed” or “happy.” In these few verses are words of lasting value that bring true happiness that lasts forever.

Grant Phillips