Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Results Not Typical

I am a dope when it comes to well, many things, but specifically today -infomercials. I love them! No, I hate them! No, I love hating them. Whatever the case, I find that I almost cannot NOT watch them. They suck me in like a black hole.

Just the other night, Tim and I were flipping back and forth between Survivor and a football game. Since both happened to be taking a commercial break, I decided to zip through the other stations. And there it was, the infomercial for the GT Express 101. I've seen it a hundred times and yet every time I am mesmerized. I swear I could watch her pop that little sucker open and scoop out leftover meatloaf sandwiches over and over again. I thought it might be the food connection. If there's anything that can get my attention and hold it, it's food. But the problem is bigger than that. It really doesn't matter what the product is: mineral makeup, shampoo, work out videos, rotisserie ovens, etc, etc, etc. I will sit and watch the entire infomercial.

Maybe it's the lunacy of it all or my innate desire to mock and be cynical. Of course, your vacuum cleaner can suck up dirt that was obviously laid one crumb at a time on top of that carpet. Try grinding it in like my seven year old does and then I'll be impressed. But even knowing how silly it is doesn't make me change the channel.

Okay, so simply making you aware of yet another of my psychological idiosyncrasies was not the point. The title phrase got me thinking. You've seen this at the bottom of those infomercial/commercial screens in small print with the little asterisk. The ad is telling you "this woman lost 72 pounds in three weeks." The small print says "Results not typical." Meaning the odds of this best case scenario working for you are slim to none.

Question: How many times have you read about someone doing amazing things for the Lord...Stephen speaking to the Sanhedrin, Lottie Moone sacrificing her life for the gospel in China, Jim Elliot, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa...and you think "wow, God really used them!" But the fine print in your mind reads, "results not typical." The program, as it were, will never work for you the way it did for them. Why not?

Not only do I watch infomercials, I have actually made an infomercial purchase. ONCE. TurboJam. That's right, the exercise/dance/tae bo sort of routine that is meant to shape and sculpt your body into supermodel style. Those of you who know me personally can attest that I have indeed taken shape -that of a mushy pear but whatever. I made the call to the 800 number where "operators are standing by" to help me and guess what I found out? Those people who experienced the greatest results (the ones who are NOT typical) did not just use the standard workout DVD that I was hoping to buy. No, no, no. They also purchased the $20 weights, the $40 resistance bands, the blah, blah, blah, for $$$. You get what I'm saying. Mind you, I'm not judging the system or assuming that the results were not real. I'm sure they were. BUT the ones who actually got results were the ones who completely sold out to the program. They bought into it lock, stock, and barrel and took advantage of everything it had to offer.

Back to that question...do we really think that a life lived fully charged, with total abandon, that pushes back comfort and rational thinking even to the point of ultimate sacrifice is a-typical of Christ's followers? If so, why? Is the "program" a farce in which only an elite few reach the pinnacle of their faith? Or is it because we aren't completely sold out to God?

Tim and I have just finished a book by Erwin McManus called "The Barbarian Way." We highly recommend it. As believers and as parents, we want our kids to see that God actively using His people, using us, to do great things is par for the course. That usefulness, sacrifice, obedience, danger, and amazing accomplishments* are normal when you love and walk with Jesus; not the exception.


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