What Do You Do for Entertainment?
“ALL work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is not just an empty expression. The right kind of entertainment can refresh the mind and heart. It can bring pleasure, and relieve boredom by adding interest to life. Thus it can be seen why entertainment is defined as “an agreeable occupation for the mind.”
Entertainment may be simple and enjoyed by one person, or by just a few. Then, again, it may be more formal and public, coming in large gatherings or performances at theaters or ball parks.
Really, almost anything can be a source of entertainment to a person if he so desires. It is a very personal matter, because individual likes and dislikes are different. What may bring pleasure to you may be monotonous to me. What is stimulating to him may be boring to her.
Entertainment has become big business nowadays. In the United States alone, spending on leisure-time activities amounts to nearly $200,000,000,000 each year. That makes it the nation’s number one industry when measured by people’s spending! As an example, well over 300 million people attended sporting events last year.
But such commercial entertainment is expensive. Does that touch home? Have you sometimes been startled over the cost of tickets for a motion picture, a concert or a ball game, or the outlay for a new television set? The fact that entertainment can take such a large bite out of your finances may be reason to consider what else you could do. You might find certain alternatives just as rewarding, perhaps even more so, but easier on your pocketbook.
Thinking a bit more about entertainment, though, will reveal that in some ways the cost may be even higher than the money involved. Some forms of entertainment contain a heavy dose of violence, immorality or gambling, things identified in the Scriptures as contrary to God’s laws or principles of behavior.
Even if entertainment is not unwholesome, it can be engaged in excessively. This can center the mind too much on the pursuit of pleasure. Likely you know people whose life is like that. They are in a constant race after some sort of entertainment. Their talk is almost riveted to that subject. But this excessive love of pleasure can kill ‘the spiritual person,’ causing him to turn aside from the way of life approved by God.
This does not come as a surprise to those who keep alert to the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. It foretold that one of the characteristics of our time would be people’s being “lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.”—2 Tim. 3:4.
Another problem with some entertainment, especially with some commercial entertainment, is that it often fails to refresh or satisfy. For example, some who favor one team in a sporting event often become dejected, frustrated, even angry, when that team loses. The event did not bring them any real joy.
Also, commercial entertainment can place more emphasis on watching than on doing. Instead of your being a participant you are a passive onlooker. This can take a toll in a person’s health and in his ability to interact with other people.
Then there is this problem with some types of entertainment: the unpredictable conduct of others who might be present. Just think of what you may have read about or viewed among spectators at some rock-music concerts. And what about the riots by angry fans at certain ball games, resulting in injury and even death? Yes, the spectators become participants at such times, but participants in mayhem rather than in entertainment.
Some may solve the problem of being among undesirable groups of people by watching such performances only on television. They prefer to enjoy them in the comfort of their own home, rather than among a rowdy crowd at a stadium or auditorium. One advantage of this is that it allows a person to reject the entertainment immediately if he finds it undesirable—provided he has the willpower and moral integrity to do so. Yet, despite certain advantages, the television viewer is still just another onlooker, not a participant.
Various forms of commercial entertainment no doubt have their place, and can be properly enjoyed. But what alternatives are there that would give special consideration to things in which we can be participants? What are some of the alternate forms of entertainment that can be most enjoyable, perhaps even more upbuilding, and that do not cost so much?