I love Netflix and happily use the account of a friend with her permission. I’m able to watch movies I’ve never seen and, recently, I’ve been watching old episodes of 30 Rock which makes any day better. For all of its benefits, though, Netflix also ruins TV.
As I’ve been watching 30 Rock my wife, Alycia, has been watching Scrubs. She’s been working her way through the series and I just recently watched the finale with her. (The real finale at the end of season 8, not the one with the medical students in season 9). I loved Scrubs and began watching it regularly during the fourth season. I lived with those characters: J.D., Turk, Carla, Elliot, Dr. Cox and the Janitor for years.
Netflix, though, has turned a years’ long relationship into something that can take place over the course of a few weeks. Instead of walking with our favorite characters season after season we truncate that experience to the bare minimum and the least amount of time possible.
When we Netflix an entire series we miss out on the weekly conversations about a single episode. We miss out on the expectation for a new season. We miss out on the sadness that comes with a final season. We miss out on so much of what brings value to a television show all in the name of speed and expediency.
Sometimes we do the same to Jesus.
A lot of times we want to Netflix Jesus. We want to truncate a lifelong relationship into the important parts that will best fit into our schedules. Instead of daily walking with Jesus we try to squeeze him into Sunday mornings, once a month breakfasts, major holidays and possibly a weekly small group as long as it doesn’t get too personal.
Jesus wants to be in a relationship with us that we experience season after season. He wants to be a part of our daily conversations. He wants to be there for the times of expectant hope and joy. He wants to be there for the times of sadness and heartache.
Jesus wants us all the time even when we only want him some of the time.
So we have to try our best not to Netflix Jesus. Netflix is great because it gives us what we want, when we want it and without the need to commit ourselves to a television show. Netflixing a show hurts the experience of walking with that show but, in the end, it’s a just a television program.
Netflixing Jesus, though, pulls us away from a life-giving relationship for which we were all created. Simply picking and choosing when and how we want Jesus keeps us from learning how to walk with him season after season. Picking and choosing also cheapens Jesus’ sacrifice; he didn’t give all of himself for random pieces of us.
Our lives with Jesus shouldn’t be about speed and expediency. Just like there’s more value in spending years with a television program and its characters, there’s infinitely more value in taking time to invest in our lives with Jesus on a daily basis. And while every show eventually has its finale and those relationships end, our investment with Jesus will pay dividends now and throughout eternity.
How has Netflix impacted your television watching habits? How can we keep from applying that mindset to Jesus?