I love to entertain, except I’m usually so tired afterwards.  Entertaining, by one definition, means to give attention or consideration.  So I suppose that’s what we do when we have guests or family over.  We give them attention by serving them food, keeping them happy and busy, and considering their needs and wants.

However, I’m not writing about entertaining friends.  Did you know there’s a verse in the bible about entertaining?  It’s Matthew 9:4.  These guys brought Jesus a man that was paralyzed, and Jesus told the man to take heart, that his sins were forgiven.   Some of the teachers that were listening nearby were thinking that Jesus was blaspheming God by saying that, and Jesus knew their thoughts.  He then asked this question:

“Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?”

What funny choice of a word to use, right?   He then stated that he indeed had the power to forgive sins, and to heal.  He next spoke to the paralyzed man and told him that he was healed, and to get up and take his mat and go home.

Have you ever thought about how we all entertain thoughts in our hearts? It means we give consideration and attention to thoughts, thus causing them to take up residence inside of us, even when we know they’re detrimental to our well-being – spiritually and physically.  In this case, the teachers that were watching Jesus probably were expecting him to heal the man first.  After all, that’s why he was brought to Jesus in the first place. 

But Jesus spoke to the man’s deepest need – that of needing forgiveness.  Because of the teachers’ preconceived notions about what was best, these thoughts that Jesus was blaspheming came to mind.  To blaspheme means to speak irreverently about God.

Once they judged Jesus for not acting as they thought he should, these thoughts took up residence in their hearts, much like our guests take a seat when they’re invited to the table.  We then serve our guests and they go home full.  But when we entertain judgmental thoughts and feed them with our invitation to sit there and fester, we’re drumming up a whole lot of trouble.

If these teachers had quieted their minds, dismissed these thoughts that came to their hearts’ door, and not allowed them in at the table inside, they would have then seen that Jesus cared for the man deeply as he healed him completely.  When Jesus did heal the man, it says the people were filled with awe and praised God that Jesus had such authority as he did!

I think we all do this.  Jesus is near, we have a need or present to him a need, and he waits and doesn’t heal when we expect it to happen.  We then judge him as being non-caring, unaware, and certainly not our provider…when we ask and don’t receive.  But we don’t know that Jesus is at work performing another miracle of greater or equal value – that of speaking to the heart of the individual we are praying for – or to our own hearts!  If we would just quiet our minds, send the unwanted thoughts away, we might be still and see that a lot of good will take place in His right order.

As stated above, we’re exhausted and tired from all the effort it takes to entertain guests we have in our home, but it’s so worth it because of the joy it brings to have them and to serve.  But entertaining evil thoughts can not only be exhausting but deadly to our spirits.  Had those teachers sent those evil thoughts away and entertained good thoughts that enabled them to watch and wait and see, they would have realized that Jesus was healing the whole man…not just the paralyzed limb.

Something worth thinking about today, isn’t it?  I know I am…        

One Last Look
The Pause
by Marcy Lytle

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