The truths about God cannot often be found in a dictionary.
An English word used in 1611 will not find proper definition of a Greek word used in 30AD, in one of the dictionaries of today, giving nuances of meaning current to us.
Entertainment is not about fun. It’s about convincing, coercing, or exhorting people to stay within our realm.
Entertain, the word we willfully misuse to allow us to make jokes about the things of God or to create such songs as “Yabbadabba-lujah” (based, by the way, on a demonic cartoon, right?) is actually a holy word, used in the Bible for quite differing purposes.
A more moderate rendition might tell us we should invite friends over to fellowship and at that point we should provide some type of fun nourishment and maybe play some little game together, to get to know one another better. I’m not finding that in the Bible, either, although I can find it in a dictionary. So, yes, in this world, entertainment probably does mean a lot of pleasantries, but for what purpose?
Socialization? Let’s hope not.
Is it to hold you inside, to entre tener you? Old Webster, himself, used the Hebrews verse as a back-up for his definition about receiving into the house, feeding, and lodging.
Fact is, entertain comes from two supposedly French words that mean to hold in. We entertain thoughts, meaning we don’t divulge them but only think them. We engage or retain people by conversation or argument.
From Webster, “Idle men entertain themselves with trifles.” They hold themselves in with meaningless things? They contain themselves by watching comedy? They keep themselves at bay by reading jokes? Without precisely the right music they go nuts? Surely not?!
Regardless of our willful misinterpretation, the word entertain, as used in the admonition to “entertain strangers”, in Hebrews 13, obviously means that if someone, likely a Christian brother, comes to your locale from afar, needing lodging, possibly needing help, we, the Body, beg them to come in, for some Godly purpose, as Abraham did to the three strangers who showed up at his tent flap.
It does not mean we start telling them jokes.
In fact, the three strangers of Abraham’s shining moment of “entertainment” actually called Sarah out for even thinking they were funny.
In Hebrews 13, the reminder to entertain strangers comes within a long list of reminders: We are to love each Christian other, to remember the Brothers in prison or the persecuted as if we were they, to honor marriage and keep the marriage bed pure, to stop loving money and be content, to remember our Christian leaders and copy them, to stay far away from strange teachings, et plus!
But which of those do we mind?
The jokes, the doughnuts, and the beat.
Although Jesus, Himself, was all about feeding His audiences that had come from afar and that also were detained longer than they had expected and were, in addition to that, far from any large supply of food, He also berated them for coming only for the food. Then He told them rather gross sermons about eating and drinking human flesh and blood. They were not amused and they all left and they were all “believers”!
Biblical example, there.
Well, that was different, that was a serious occasion out in the wilds, right? Not so much.
What we miss is that every occasion is a serious occasion for God’s people. As Peter said, that day, “Where else can we go? Only You have the words of life.” Not amused, but still wanting Jesus. Imagine the deep level of conviction, there. Out of thousands, twelve got it.
That. That is the goal.
Let’s look at Jesus partying.
Yes, at a formal, personally-issued-invitation gathering of wealthy and influential people, with Himself, the Story-Teller, as the guest of honor, we find him unchanging. He convicts, He breaks the social code, He insults, He prophesies, He lets “that woman” touch Him and praises her and no one is laughing.
He is the same at the home of His great friend, Lazarus: admonishing the super-hostess and praising the serious minion. What KIND of a dinner is THIS, for Heaven’s sake?!
But do we get it? Nah.
We’re all about making sure everything looks expensive, everyone has a doughnut, and the speaker is fun, in our own, personal, self-entertainment buildings, with the pointy tops, that we haven’t paid for yet.
And people really do come, or not come, because of the doughnuts or lack thereof. And people really do get up and walk out if the music isn’t just to their liking. And it is true, these days, that without a miracle of God, a plain-spoken preacher and a simple hymn just cannot be used of God.
Which fact also is true of a “dynamic” speaker and an up-to-date song.
Only we are smiling so much, we cannot discern.
And if we do not agree on this, someday we will.