The late A.W. Tozer, whose many books are now considered Christian classics, once wrote a magazine article titled “The Great God Entertainment” in which he described people who are so addicted to the need of constantly being entertained that what had been intended to enable them to relax in idle times had now become idolatry.
An interesting thought!
And if you think it’s too far out, consider that many call their favorite actors, actresses or athletes their idols.
In 1787, Edward Gibbon completed his book, “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” giving the following reasons for it’s destruction: the rapid increase of divorce with the resultant undermining of the home; higher and higher taxes and the spending of public money for free circuses for the people; the mad craze for sports, which became more and more brutal; the building of gigantic armaments, when the real enemy was within, and the decay of religious faith, which faded into formalism and became impotent.
In short, Gibbon concluded that satisfying the desires of the people for comforts and entertainment became more important than their relationship with God. Like another civilization before them described in the Bible, they “worshiped and served the creature more than the creator” (Romans 1:25).
Can this be happening to us?
Think about it.
What often monopolizes our conversations when we’re with friends or family?
Probably famous athletes, entertainers or entertainment.
This is not to say that all entertainment is destructive or immoral. We need periodic breaks from the routines of life; time out from the daily grind. Jesus told His disciples to “come apart and rest awhile” (Mark 6:31), prompting someone to wisely observe that if we don’t come apart, we’ll come apart.
Laughter was prescribed by wise Solomon for good health: “A merry heart does good like a medicine,” he wrote (Proverbs 17:22), adding there is “a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). But if this laughter comes at the expense of compromising high moral standards intended to keep us on the right road, it isn’t healthy at all.
We live in an age of entertaining gadgets that can either be pleasant antidotes to boredom and fatigue or dangerous influences that move us to violence, immorality and despair.
What we think, we are! And to imagine that anyone, young or old, can continually be exposed to negative input and not be affected by it is ridiculous.
The greatest danger in too much entertainment is the squandering of time. We’re all given this precious gift at birth with a fresh supply each day. To make the best use of time, we must invest it wisely, worshiping and serving God, finding His will for our lives and living for the good of others. We don’t have time to entertain our lives away.
Roger Campbell is an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.