Blockbuster and God.
About a week ago I got an email from Blockbuster. It opened by saying, “we hope you’re enjoying your Blockbuster Online Membership!” They then proceeded to tell me why I was about to not enjoy my membership.
Basically, whenever I brought back an envelope with a DVD in it to the store, they would mail it back to their distribution center and give me a free rental on the spot. It was a great deal and was there attempt to win back customers from Netflix. Since they don’t have stores, Netflix can’t compete with this business model. And so I switched to Blockbuster and for $9.99 a month enjoyed unlimited movie rentals.
But now that enough customers have returned to Blockbuster, they’re not concerned about Netflix anymore. That means, programs like unlimited rentals are no longer necessary to generate consumer loyalty. So now, instead of infinite movie rentals a month, I now have the ability to rent 2. My plan went from infinite to 2. I’m not a math whiz, but that’s got to be a 99.999999% reduction in quality of service.
Needless to say, I hate Blockbuster. The interesting thing is that I think a lot of times I assume God is going to treat me just like they did. Right now I’m writing in large part about how nonsensical the story of the prodigal son feels. (He spends all his father’s money on hookers, comes home expecting punishment and instead receives a party.) The world just doesn’t work the way that story does. When someone gets what they need from you, they tend to change the way they treat you. People are always more interested in your jokes when you’re interviewing them for a job. Car salesman treat you like the most important person on the planet until they close they deal. Advertising agencies win new business with their best creative talent but then make their B-teams do the client work once the client has signed on so that the best and brightest can focus on finding new business. Blockbuster woos you with unlimited rentals until their main competitor is weakened and you don’t have another option to choose.
I think the fear of that happening with God forces me to miss a lot of the good stuff he’s got planned for my life. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop with him. I’m into month 11 of the best year of my life but rather than enjoy it, I find myself with an uncomfortable sense of weariness. I feel like someone in a horror movie thinking, “this is quiet, too quiet.” I keep waiting to get Rocky Mountain Tick disease or get fired from work unexpectedly.
But I don’t think that’s how God works. At the bare minimum, it’s not how his word reads. Here’s something I found in Psalm 126: 1-3 the other day:
1 When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion,
we were like men who dreamed.
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
3 The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
I love those verses, in part because I don’t think there’s enough focus on laughter in Christianity. But more than that, I love that there’s not a “but” in there. It’s not “the Lord has done great things for them, but once He knew he had them he moved on to focusing on finding new people.” It’s not a one time event, joy is a life change.
And so far, I’ve got to say, that joy feels very unlimited.