How Netflix can Jumpstart Discernment

Posted on July 21, 2011 by Karen Ward

The recent rise in cost of the basic Netflix plan I use has got me thinking. What do I spend money on that I ultimately do not need? And what could that money be used for to better serve the world?
This is not a black and white issue. This is something that each Christian needs to discern personally to become a better follower of Christ in the world. Our American culture has desensitized us to really think about how much we are spending and what we are spending it on. Think about the miscellaneous purchases you make throughout the week that you don’t plan or the things you buy that you don’t really need.
For example, my personal stumbling block is one of the latest ways consumers are obtaining their entertainment: Netflix. Recently Netflix announced a price change that made consumers think about how much they’re paying for these services. Mostly they’re really mad about having to pay a lot more. But I took this opportunity to re-evaluate what I need out of my entertainment, how it helps me grow as a child of God, and ways I can use my excess spending to support those around the world.
Previously subscribers could get unlimited online streaming and 1 DVD at a time for $9.99 a month. Come September the same plan will cost $15.98. I’m not interested in making a comment on the price increase. I am interested in how this has caused me to re-evaluate my priorities. Perhaps it has (or could? or should?) for you, too? If I choose a different plan that ends up saving me money come September, I want to think about how I may better use that money to help fight world hunger. If I were to switch to just an online streaming plan or just a 1 DVD at a time plan for 7.99 per month I would have enough to provide someone around the world a microloan that they would use to help start a new business. This may seem like tedious math but I think this is the kind of thinking that is needed to end world hunger. Check out how microloans help women in Mexico overcome poverty and hunger. Also visit ELCA Good Gifts to see all the different ways you can make a difference.
All of our abundance comes from God and he intends for us to share it with those in need around the world and in our local communities. As members of the body of Christ we need to take a good look at what we spend and ask if it’s serving God in the best way possible. We trade in the bigger houses, better cars, cooler gadgets, and the latest fashions for the hope to reduce global poverty, ensure social justice and work to make sure everyone is fed. Just by making small adjustments in what we buy we can make that difference.
So here are my questions to you. Have you thought about this issue? What’s your stumbling block that tempts you to spend? What are you doing to get over your stumbling block? I’d love to hear from you!

God Bless,