Recently, I was with a group of friends, and we started throwing around suggestions for binge-worthy shows. It was one of those conversations without much substance, light-hearted and fun, and sometimes exactly what you need, especially after a long time without your girlfriends.
Binge-watching Netflix wasn’t new when COVID came along last year, but for many of us, I suspect, it became some sort of coping mechanism. All that time at home and limited options for entertainment, it made perfect sense that the path we’d follow is one of least resistance. Friends and family were on the ready with their favorite recommendations, and I imagine we all watched shows we might not ever have considered before quarantine. It was just that, suddenly, we all had time on our hands, begging to be filled with something — anything, really. How else can you explain the popularity of the train wreck otherwise known as Tiger King? Would I ever have watched a show where chess is the central character apart from friends telling me how great it was?
One of the reasons we’re eager to share Netflix recommendations, I’m guessing, is because those opinions are “safe” topics compared to, say, the lightning rods of politics, gun control, or whether or not we should still be wearing masks. Everyone can add something to the conversation and probably won’t offend you in the process.
Later though, it got me thinking, and an unsettling thought I couldn’t push aside began forming:
Do I have as much passion or enthusiasm when I share the gospel (or about how God is working in my life) as I do when I talk about my new favorite show?
It’s a question that stirs conviction, isn’t it? I realized I can get more excited about telling someone why I found The Queen’s Gambit fascinating or why Ted Lasso is the feel-good show of the year than when I explain how Jesus has changed my life.
Not long afterwards, I read an Old Testament passage that brought those TV-related thoughts and convictions to mind while simultaneously offering something better to hold my attention. In Jeremiah 9:23-24, it says,
Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
Isn’t God gracious in this way? We aren’t left to wonder what delights Him. Without having to search the ends of the earth for answers, He hands us keys that open doors of wisdom and understanding and challenges the identity we find in our own wisdom, strength, wealth, or even our coping mechanisms. By reorienting our thinking to what matters to God, He naturally becomes the center of our perspective. Gone is the pressure of self-reliance as we rightly place our confidence in Christ.
It’s not that binge-watching shows is a bad thing, but we’re prone to find ways to fix ourselves or to fill the gaping lack we may feel by keeping ourselves busy. It’s a good reminder that our faith has nothing to do with what we bring to the table — what we can do or not do — but everything to do with what God has accomplished on our behalf through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son.
Isn’t it astonishing that God wants us to understand and know Him? From Genesis to Revelation, He reveals His character, and in this passage in Jeremiah, we learn that He practices and delights in steadfast love, justice, and righteousness. When we go and do likewise not only are we following Him, but we’re becoming more like Him.
Any wisdom, might, or money (or all those TV show recommendations) we accumulate does nothing for us when our lives end. But focusing on and delighting in what matters to God carries eternal value.
Ours is a generous God who goes to great lengths to show and tell us who He is. This is the God who saved us. This is the Holy One who has reconciled us to Himself. So, when we start thinking about our favorite things to share with those we love, His is a story we can get excited about recommending!Leave a Comment