We recently found our cable bill moving to about $300 per month with the promise that it was going higher this summer. That included internet but still, as it was moving to $340 and then $370 this fall, I was furious with the cable company.
When I finally decided to call and ask for a breakdown of our monthly bill, I was told that we were paying almost $100 per month for rented equipment, cable boxes and recorders, etc.! Can you believe that? The prices just kept creeping up year after year and what once cost us $25 a month had now moved to almost $100 per month on top of the cable services we were purchasing – bringing our bill to something ridiculous starting with a “3”.
At least they let us know that the bill would keep moving up another $70 over the summer and I finally had enough. When I asked about lowering our bill, the only obvious answer was to get rid of all our equipment and go to streaming.
After 4 hours and 36 minutes on the phone with the cable company (literally), the transition was made and we returned all the equipment that evening to our local cable store. Period. So now we have now been using a “cloud” platform for several months and are still getting used to it. By the way, our monthly bill dropped more than $150 per month – without losing programming.
Today, I noticed on our most recent bill that we were receiving a credit $5.43 that reflects the value of sporting events we missed due to Covid cancellations of games during the year Go figure. A whole $5.43 – for the entire year!
By the way, among our other choices are Hulu, Netflix, Prime, Disney+, HBO Max and countless others. The choices are staggering. Back we were growing up in Chicago, we had channels 2, 5, 7, 9, 11 and on occasion, 26 and 32. That was it. Now we have more than 500 choices of what we can watch at any time – day or night.
In the corporate world, there used to be a real dilemma calls the “33 flavors syndrome.” The general idea is that when you have so many choices, some people freeze up and can’t make a decision. Back in the day of chocolate, vanilla or strawberry, lines moved more quickly in ice cream stores and people were more decisive about what they wanted to eat. Introduce 30 more choices and things get rather complicated! By the way, my favorite flavor was “strawberry shortcake” – not “strawberry cheesecake” which people try to palm off as the same thing.
Now we have the same thing in the entertainment industry. In fact, I can now subscribe to HBO Max when I have AT&T mobile phones. There is so much crossover that I am sure that I could cancel some stuff because I may get it somewhere else that I already subscribe to. But you know what – I just don’t want to figure it all out and it’s not a place I want to spend my life – and I’m not that technically literate anyway.
To a degree, the same thing is happening in our religious convictions. People have so many choices on organized religion and worship that everyone seems to want to make up their own belief system. And many people think that is just fine. But God really doesn’t give us the choice to make it up as we go along – or to “phone in” our faith as opposed to being active in a particular belief system.
Of course, I am here to make it simple. Christianity, while not the largest religion in the world, certainly has withstood the test of time, as have Judaism and several others. The big difference in these various faiths is the definition of God (big “G”) and the position of Jesus. In order to profess Christianity, Jesus is at the center of the faith and is a living God – having been resurrected after having been crucified.
Frankly, I think the choice is simple – and one that you can rest in. Our verse for tonight lets us know that the choice really isn’t that difficult. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, tells us in Romans 8:16-17, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
My encouragement this evening is that while there are technically many choices, Paul and the other apostles gave their lives because they believed so strongly that Jesus was the way. My prayer is that we may all be strong in our faith, not persuaded to test all the other choices, as we already have the keys to the kingdom, literally. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…