There’s another factor to consider in choosing our fun.
It’s actually a principle that applies in a much broader context, involving more than just the entertainment we choose.
It applies to all of life.
Sometimes people have trouble controlling themselves. They get obsessed with a particular thing, and eventually it dominates them.
As I say, it may involve any number of things besides entertainment. Sometimes it’s work. Sometimes it’s study. Sometimes—to someone with “a one-track mind,” it’s literally anything—whatever they happen to be doing at the moment.
When I was in seminary, a friend of mine told me that his roommate told him to shut up, because he was busy reading a theology book.
Now, that’s putting the cart before the horse. I wonder if he was reading the section on loving your neighbor.
See what I did there? Neigh-bor? Get it?
What was I writing about?
What’s wrong with being really interested in something?
Nothing at all.
The issue isn’t interest: it’s control. Slavery.
Believers have just one Master. He is the master we were designed to serve, and when we try to serve a different one, all kinds of things go haywire. When you put a 15-amp fuse in a 50-amp circuit, you’re going to end up in the dark.
Now, it’s bad enough when the wrong master we choose is our career, or popular acclaim, or wealth.
But it’s even worse, I think, when it’s something so trivial as what we do for fun.
There are obvious examples: drugs, including alcohol, make horrendous masters. Sex, a delightful gift from God, can literally destroy the one who serves it.
But so can a TV show. So can scrolling mindlessly and obsessively and endlessly through a social media feed. So can spending money you don’t have to buy one more rifle or golf club or motorcycle or dress or coin set or gemstone.
How much will be enough?
Just one more. Always just one more.
And the money involved is not the primary issue. Maybe you have plenty of money to spend on such things. But you have no more time than the poorest person in the world—just 24 hours per day, and time is a zero-sum game: time you spend on entertainment is time you’re taking away from something else. Family. Productivity. Sleep. Fellowship. Study of the Word.
I think I’ve made it clear already in this series that you ought to have leisure time. You ought to have fun. But fun is a servant, not a master. You weren’t designed to whittle away your time watching every last episode, or achieving every last level, or playing all 9 million games of Freecell.
So far, just two brief allusions to Scripture in this post.
Let’s get serious.
The Scripture speaks to this idea in both Testaments.
- The wisest man who ever lived said, “He who loves pleasure will become a poor man” (Pr 21.17). This reminds me of the wag’s comment that a government-run lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math.
- One of the charges that God levels at Babylon is that she is “a lover of pleasures” (Is 47.8).
- In his parable of the soils, Jesus described one unproductive soil as “choked by the riches and cares and pleasures of life” (Lk 8.14).
- Paul tells Timothy that in the last days, people will be “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2Ti 3.4).
I’d suggest that we approach our fun times with the steely assertion of Paul himself, who said, “All things are lawful for me, but I will not be dominated by anything” (1Co 6.12).
I’d suggest that if some form of entertainment dominates you, then you’re not having as much fun as you could be having.
Have as much fun as you can.
Next time: some questions to ask as you’re making up your mind.