I am probably one of the few people I know that hasn’t seen the hit NBC show, This is Us. I know a lot of people love this show, but I just haven’t seen it. It has a 94% Rotten Tomato rating, but I haven’t seen it. It is the second-most-watched primetime television show for ages 18-49 (7.16 million viewers), but I haven’t seen it. This show is probably fantastic and I would love it, but I haven’t seen it. Why?
You know there is always a show out there that is a “must-see” and people love to give me a hard time when they find out that I haven’t seen it. What those people often do not take into account is what other shows, events, and things I might have going on in my life that takes precedence. For example, I often have church meetings on Tuesday nights when the show airs. There is also one other element people don’t often consider, the commitment. If I were to start watching This is Us now, I would probably have to start with season 1. That means I would have to find out if there is a way I could access the previous seasons (3 of them, I think). There will be a cost associated with that as well; a cost of time to watch the previous 3 seasons and of money for a subscription service to stream it. So, to be honest, if the decision to watch This is Us is up to me, then there is a really good chance that I will not be watching it. Not because the show isn’t great, which I hear it is, but because I am not sure if I can commit.
Commitment is often one of the greatest deciding factors for people when it comes to something new. What we often want to know before we commit is if what we are committing to is worth more than what it will cost. Recently, I overheard a conversation a couple was having about purchasing a new car. They were discussing car loan possibilities and discovered that they could take a loan out for up to 8 years! First of all, thats insane! Second, how much is that car they are wanting to purchase? I could tell in the conversation that one person really wanted the car, but the other wasn’t so sure that an 8-year car loan was a good idea. The person who was hesitant asked a very good question. They said, “Are you sure we are still going to want this car in 8 years and will it even be worth as much as what we will be paying?” The other person responded, “I don’t know, but we could always trade it for a different car later.” I am not sure what this couple decided because my coffee was ready and I was about to leave, but I wanted to say something. I wanted to tell them that it would not be worth it, to buy something cheaper, to avoid the debt snowball they were heading for. I am actually glad I didn’t say something. I still think it was a bad idea, but I have to admit that I don’t know their life situation. I didn’t know them at all.
As a pastor, I get excited when someone makes a commitment to Christ or to join the church, but I am often surprised when someone comes from out of the blue to join. Don’t get me wrong I want to grow the church, but for me, it is not about numbers it is about a new life and community. I try not to question a person’s motives for joining, but when someone who has barely experienced the community and work of our church decides to join I often wonder for how long. Will they be like that couple deciding to buy a new car and move on when the church no longer pleases them? Will the shiny newness fade into a realization that there is something shinier and newer elsewhere? That shouldn’t worry me, but it does, because I know that the Christian life and joining this church is not a shallow commitment. It is a calling to a new life that requires our commitment and participation.
This is Us is a wonderful TV show (or so I have heard) but it is also the title of this Sunday’s sermon. This Sunday we will explore how as Christians we are all called to be a part of God’s work in new beginnings. Our church, Cornerstone, is a place where we commit to doing this work and we all participate. Join us this Sunday as we dive deeper into this in small groups at 9:30 AM and in worship at 10:30 AM.
In God’s grip,
Pastor Chuck Church