Words are my favorite toys.
I love to play with them, to alter and rearrange them; to find creative ways to use them to produce or discover something interesting. Sometimes it doesn’t take that much.
Consider the change two little letters (or just one if you’re a bad speller) makes to a word. Change an “A” to a “U” and a “Z” to an “S” and “Amazed” becomes “Amused”. Doesn’t seem like much, but consider the difference between those two things…
Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” -Matthew 12:22-23
In this story from the Gospels, Jesus does a miracle. He reaches in and dramatically changes the life of a man who had been in bondage, and the people were amazed. They wondered if this was a sign that He was, indeed, the Messiah.
There’s another story of a man looking to Jesus for a sign. His name was Herod, and the Gospel of Luke records,
“When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him.” -Luke 23:8
Read in context, this passage shows a very different heart from the crowds of people. Herod didn’t seek to be amazed by Jesus, simply amused. He wanted a trick, a diversion, a show. He wanted something to take his mind off of the daily pressures of life and responsibility, something to make him feel good. He wanted something to lift his spirits, to put him in a positive mood, to encourage him.
Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with being amused. There’s nothing wrong with wanting something to take our mind off of our responsibilities and stress, to help us unwind. However, when we come to Jesus (especially in the context of a church gathering), is our need to be amused preventing us from being amazed by Him? It’s an easy switch to make, like two little letters in a word, but it makes a big difference in how we live our life the rest of the week.
The good news is that when we repent and ask God to help us be amazed at Him again, He’s always faithful to switch things back to where they should be.