Staff Corner: Pastor Greg Spires
Reed Hastings has said he decided to start the movie rental company Netflix after having to pay $40 in late fees for a copy of Apollo 13 he rented from Blockbuster video. In 1997 Hastings and a business partner started Netflix in Los Gatos, CA, with an online reservation system that mailed DVDs to customer homes.
Three years later, in 2000, Hastings and his business partner had a meeting with the CEO of Blockbuster. They offered to sell their DVD by mail business to Blockbuster for $50 million. They figured Blockbuster would see that customers were moving to doing more online rather than in stores.
According to accounts written about that fateful meeting, the CEO of Blockbuster had to restrain himself from laughter at the offer from Netflix. He had no interest in the startup video rental service and thought their price was ridiculous. The meeting ended, and Hastings was ushered hastily out of the Blockbuster offices.
Ten years later, Blockbuster declared bankruptcy and closed all its company-owned stores. Only one Blockbuster video remains in the world, and it is located in Bend, OR. Today Netflix has a company value that nears $200 billion. By comparison, at its peak in 2004, Blockbuster had a valuation of about $5 billion.
Blockbuster’s CEO was quoted as saying, “The dot-com hysteria is completely overblown.” His assessment was he had more profitable things to do than purchasing money-losing companies like Netflix. Blockbuster’s decision to pass on buying Netflix has gone down in business history as one of the biggest missed opportunities ever.
In hindsight, the decision looks silly. However, at the time, it was merely a decision of value. Blockbuster had important and extremely profitable things to occupy their time and resources. Why would they waste their time and money on something so insignificant as a mail-order DVD rental service?
Jesus teaches us that His kingdom is the same. Right now, most people wouldn’t see His kingdom for what it really is. In fact, most people in the world casually disregard God’s kingdom as either meaningless or non-existent.
Jesus told a parable about His kingdom and compared it with a wedding feast put on by a king. Invitations were sent out. Notice the response the king received to his invitations in Matthew 22:4-5, “Tell those who are invited, ‘See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business.”
The wedding feast sounded nice to the guests, but they had more pressing matters to attend to. They were concerned with their farms and businesses. They had more profitable things to think about. It is implied that the guests were thinking, “Oxen and fattened calves? I can afford my own because my farm and business are so profitable. Why would I inconvenience myself to go feast at the wedding? Why would I pledge allegiance to such a small king?”
The parable is designed to confront our perceptions of God’s kingdom. God has chosen to give His kingdom to those who believe without seeing. The Bible makes it quite plain: God’s kingdom has the highest authority, the greatest glory, the most precious of riches, the pinnacle of delights, and it will never end! Those who believe take to heart Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Those who don’t believe have more important things to worry about.
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together! This Sunday, we will be seeking God through His Word in Matthew 22:1-14.
See you Sunday,