VERSE OF THE DAY: "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" Mark 8:36
Wrote this for CtB. My e-mail's being weird, so I'm stickin it up here!
Think BRICKBREAKER. It goes under many names: VORTEX, BREAK-THRU, etc. But it is all the same thing: BrickBreaker. Are you a brickbreaker junkie? There are two kinds: the Proud-to-Proclaim-it junkies and the I-would-deny-it-three-times-before-the-rooster-crowed junkies. About one in a million brickbreakers would admit to being such! For the sake of this article, I will reluctantly admit that I am able to enjoy a VORTEX game under the blankets on my iPod any night. This popular accessory game comes on about any phone, iPod, or computer around, and people always like games that don't require any directions! Simple. Move your little paddle thing on the bottom to bounce the ball back where all the bricks await. Break them all and move on to the next level. Yea! Even better though, are the little bonuses that fall from bricks you destroy. Catch them with your paddle and you can stretch it, get more lives, more balls, extra points, or even a fireball or some rockets! Wow! How much better can it get! But this has probably happened to all of us. You see a bonus coming down. What is it? What is it... it's a rocket bonus! You definitely NEED that! But it's still pretty close to the top and your ball bounces back towards you. You hit it back up and keep your eyes on that bonus. It's coming down on the right side. Haha! Yo get in position to catch it. But wait! Your ball! It's coming down on the left side! There's no stopping it for a minute. Brickbreaker encourages quick thinking. You think in a split second that you can wait for the bonus, then whip back insanely fast to catch your ball. Always a good plan despite the fact that it works about 1% of the time. You've got the bonus! But the ball was coming too fast. You try to get the paddle over there as planned, but it's too late. You lose the ball, and the most despised words in America show on your screen. GAME OVER. Shoot! Either you're thinking, "Well, next time I'll just let the bonus go" or "Man! Need to practice getting back there faster!"
Where am I going with this reminder of numerous bad experiences, you ask? This is a miniature example of Mark 8:36. "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" I talked about brickbreaker because I thought about this verse then and it's a fun topic:) But how about we go a little deeper? Think the band SWITCHFOOT. Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman, Chad Butler, you know the guys. The name Switchfoot is a surfing term. When you switch your feet, you are taking a new stance in the other direction, not like everybody else. They wanted their music to open new doors in Christian Rock. So they released some good early albums like THE LEGEND OF CHIN and LEARNING TO BREATHE. They played their music undauntedly in bars and witnessed in all kinds of places shouting Jesus loud. They were special. Later they got four of their songs included in the 2002 movie, A Walk to Remember. So they got more recognized and it led to the album BEAUTIFUL LETDOWN. Despite the fame and idolized people, they still made music for the Lord. Then came the Disney Channel. The YouTube popularity. The people loving them. It led to an albums that has been described as their darkest. It led to more albums that had less and less of God in them, and more and more of what the fans wanted. They went from singing for God, to singing for popularity, money, people, themselves, and who knows what else. They still say they have their good intentions, but the truth is that their focus is gone. They don't like being called a Christian band. As said in the book The Day of Small Beginnings, "if we conform to the patterns of this world - the stage shows, the roadies, the contracts, the promos, the secular studio musicians, - it's bound to have an affect on us. It's inevitable. You can't do business like the world system and not be slowly submerged into it - justified by the lyrics, condemned by the reality." They gained popularity, money, fans, and fame. The world. But they lost their soul. They can justify their actions all day long, but when they stand before Jesus are they going to be confident that they carried out his plan and had done exactly what he wanted with their band?
Now I'm not dissing Switchfoot. I've cried many tears for them. They're backsliding and don't know where they could be sliding. There ball is escaping, brickbreakerly speaking. Sometimes we should just skip the bonus and keep on bouncing our ball God's way and not lose the path. Don't let your game be over.
"I don't wanna gain the whole world, and lose my soul." ~ Tobymac