The Price of Entertainment

Controversy has been swarming around the professional baseball world lately.  Around twenty players are facing the consequences for taking banned substances to enhance their game.  Some of the big names in these allegations include Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun.  There are a variety of opinions on the use of banned substances but one that really stands out is from retired Major League player, and known steroid user, John Rocker:

“Honestly, and this may go against what some people think from an ethical stand point, I think it was the better game.  At the end of the day when people are paying their $80, $120, whatever it may be, to buy their ticket and come watch that game, it’s almost like the circus is in town.  They are paid to be entertained.  They wanna see some clown throw a fastball 101 mph and some other guy hit it 500 feet.  That’s entertainment.  You’re paying to be entertained” (Yahoo Sports).

No matter what our opinion may be about the use of performance enhancing drugs, there is a much greater problem at the heart of the matter which can be seen from Rocker’s comments -- People want to be entertained.  Many problems in our society have come about as a result of people seeking to be entertained.

  • Good conversation is becoming an endangered species since so many eyes are glued to smart phones, TVs, and computers.
  • Sex, language, and graphic content have progressively bombarded our movies, TV shows, and music to make it more “entertaining.”
  • The worldly and sin focused city of Las Vegas is growing and thriving because of the millions of people who come to be entertained.
  • Performance enhancing drugs are running rampant in many sports because people continue to pay good money to watch a player succeed, break records, and win for their team.  As a result, these sports organization are able to shell out millions of dollars per year to players.  Case in point, Alex Rodriguez was paid $29 million last year by the New York Yankees.  All of this further encourages players to win, perform, and entertain at all costs.

Our world is addicted to entertainment, and it’s getting worse.  Video game sales in the US went from $3.2 billion in 1995 to $18 billion in 2007 (Video Game Sales). This desire to be entertained is even finding its way into the church.  The words of 1 Timothy 4:3-4 are ringing as true as ever, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”  Sadly, some congregations have ignored and changed Scripture to make things more appealing, tolerant, and enjoyable.  We are falling into a dangerous trap.

During his life, Solomon indulged and experimented with all the entertaining and pleasurable parts of life.  After do so, Solomon came to this reality, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.  For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

Entertainment has a price, and if we aren’t careful, this desire may cost us everything.  Let’s be very cautious in satisfying our desires for entertainment and make sure we keep it in its proper place.  May we share in Solomon’s conclusion that fearing God and keeping His commandments comes above all else, even entertainment.