Author and pastor John Piper graced his Twitter audience with some words about wealth and entertainment:
Netflix promises an escape, but doesn’t deliver.
Money promises happiness, but doesn’t satisfy.
Fame promises immortality, but doesn’t last.
But Jesus delivers what he promises, fully and forever.
— Desiring God (@desiringGod) September 14, 2018
It’s not hard to grasp the spirit of what he’s saying — and yet it still falls short.
First of all, Netflix is technically an escape into worlds beyond our own. It’s entertainment, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Enjoying a show, or even an occasional binge session, isn’t cause for alarm. Using Netflix to avoid your problems, on the other hand, might be.
Secondly, the people who tend to say “Money can’t buy happiness” tend to have enough of it. In the grand scheme of things, that adage may be true, but money can buy food, shelter, and medical care: basic staples for a minimum level of happiness.
I’ll casually agree with Piper regarding fame. Having the paparazzi snap your picture while you buy toilet paper sounds horrifically annoying. In an era when anyone can become a Youtube star, “lasting” fame is pretty relative.
But even if you agree with Piper’s worldview and think Jesus delivers on a spiritual level, let’s not kid ourselves: Jesus isn’t the one applying for jobs on anyone’s behalf so they can provide for their families. Jesus isn’t healing people before crowds like He used to, thus eliminating the need for healthcare. Jesus isn’t intervening to stop Donald Trump from deporting legal citizens, or separating families, or exacerbating a situation where hurricanes occur more forcefully and frequently because Republicans refuse to accept climate change.
Piper, as he does so often, overdramatizes normal behavior while trivializing the importance of personal responsibility.