When I say, “pharmaceutical television drug advertisement” I bet that all of us conjure up the same kind of thoughts in our minds. A gentle voice starts caressing our ears with words of encouragement as Images of green grass, blue skies, yoga classes, people dancing, smiling and laughing while holding onto each other’s arms on a beach or in a garden all come to mind. It darn-near looks like the people featured in the commercials accidentally made a wrong turn on their way to work and found the back door to heaven!
If at some point the producers of these commercials decide to implant a chubby cherub, sitting on a park bench in the background, playing a harp and singing along with the jingle, we probably wouldn’t even notice. He’d fit right in!
Then come the disclaimers. Interestingly, the voice speaking and the images on the screen don’t change to match the words in the disclaimer… Could you imagine what that would be like? Instantly, death-metal music starts to play in the background. Our cherub evaporates into dust. Dr. Kevorkian narrates the following, “Side effects include, death, dismemberment, loss of all bodily functions, paralysis, memory loss, bleeding from the eyes and your mother-in-law moving in.”
That’s never going to happen. Even the FDA would be like, “Really? That’s a real side effect? Let’s not scare em’ too much. Can we remove the mother-in-law part?”
There are times when people try to “sell” Christianity like pharmaceutical companies try to sell drugs. “Come to church. Place your offering in the plate and listen… do you hear the harps? Huh? Do ya? Can you hear the angels singing? Listen closer…”
The fact is that the Bible is full of stories about difficult situations Christians had to face in claiming Christ. Some were martyred. Others were imprisoned and beaten. Despite that, they held onto the faith for two reasons. One, they had first-hand experience of the truth surrounding Jesus and two, the benefits were worth it.
Simply stated, some side effects are worth it. Soldiers suffer through training together because it’s worth it. College students stretch their minds and force themselves to study because it’s worth it. Parents discipline their children because it’s worth it. Pursuing the Christian life is worth it.
Ask our Sunday school teachers, our educators, our youth leaders, our big club and kid’s club leaders our host of volunteers sitting on committees, all the people who make our church effective, “Why sacrifice your time, energy and resources!?” The answers will vary, but in the end it’ll be easy to conclude that they serve because the benefits of serving are worth the cost. They earn purpose, service, being connected to God, blessing others, and the promise of heaven.
We welcome you to join us. We don’t have a chubby cherub or a magic pill, but those things pale in comparison to what we do have.
Pastor Travis Montgomery