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The next big thing

Some guys wearing baseball gear are on an airplane (think buddies on a road trip).  One of them is sitting next to the window and he’s trying to sleep. And as anyone who’s ever tried to sleep on a plane knows --- he can’t find a comfortable position for his head. He tilts it back, then forward, and eventually every position in between.  Meanwhile one of his buddies (equipped with the latest in phone technology), has taken pictures and put them into a video loop so that his friend looks like one of the bobblehead figures they sell at the ball park.  Meanwhile, words appear on the screen telling us:

The next big thing is here.

It’s a moderately amusing commercial (the first time or two), about some guys . . . well, just being guys.  The funniest thing to me though is the idea that the ability to make a friend look like a bobblehead is “the next big thing.”  Really?  I understand that Samsung wants us to think that way and I understand that it is the nature of commercials to be way over the top in order to get our attention.  But still --- the next big thing?
The more I think about it though, the less amusing it becomes.  The sad thing isn’t that we would blow some rinky dink phone feature all out of proportion, it’s what’s implicit in the phrase, “the next big thing,” --- the idea that we are a generation of people who never seem to be satisfied or content with who we are and what we have. Therefore, we’re always on the lookout for TNBT.  It’s somehow vital to our identity.

Of course, our consumer culture has worked long and hard to instill in us the idea that you are what you own --- from the car you drive, to your hand held technology, to the clothes you wear.  And, since they can’t remain in business without continuing sales, there is the need to offer bigger, faster, newer, upgraded, sleeker, versions of what we currently have so we will continue to buy.  Therefore, to have us looking for TNBT means they have accomplished their goal.

It also means we’re in danger of become people who have everything to live with and nothing to live for --- all we can do is wait for TNBT.  Instead of having our identity firmly rooted in God, we’ve opted for something else and it continually needs to be upgraded because the version we have right now --- well, it just isn’t quite good enough. 

Maybe the greatest danger though is from those who have their identity partially rooted in God but feel they must constantly be supplementing it with TNBT.  This is Adam and Eve eating the fruit, it’s Israel pursuing idolatry, it’s churches (and Christians), who have some other agenda than the kingdom of God.  It’s not a tried and true formula --- it’s a tried and true failure.  The next big thing is the same thing it was yesterday, today, and forever --- Jesus Christ. 
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