I had an interesting discussion with a fellow pastor a few days ago as we stood inside the Colosseum in Rome. We were talking about the gladiators who had fought there and the conversation shifted to the type of entertainment the Romans were used to and how similar or dissimilar to our entertainment it was. I made the comment that I couldn't imagine sitting there watching people kill each other. It seems so brutal to me and makes me queazy just thinking about it. My fellow pastor reminded me that we still do it all the time today as we sit in our living rooms watching the TV. For some reason, that seems different to me. I know scientifically that our brain doesn't know the difference between reality and television, but the knowledge that I'm seeing actors on the screen rather than people actually killing each other somehow changes the way I think of things. But am I right? Is there really any difference between our entertainment and the entertainment of the ancient Romans? Wherever you stand on this debate, the similarities between our modern culture and the ancient Roman culture are undeniable. We are focused on entertainment and serving our own interests. We are surrounded by every convenience imaginable and yet we are unhappy.
When John copied the message that Jesus gave to the church in Laodicea, I'm sure he couldn't help but see the similarities between that church and nearly everyone in the society around him. And today, as we look around the world, we see the words ring true - not just spiritually in the church but in every facet of society. "You say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked" (Revelation 3:17). Just like the ancient Romans, we are so concerned about ourselves and our own comfort that we don't see we really lack everything that's truly valuable. The entertainment that Christ prescribes is not a gladiator match in the Colosseum. Instead, He says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me" (Revelation 3:20). Why don't you spend less time pursuing the pleasures of the world and more time inviting Jesus in for supper? You just may find that the entertainment He provides is better than anything this world can offer.