One day last week I received a gift one of my daughters had promised me for my birthday a couple of months ago. She took me to a theater that was showing one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock movies, "North by Northwest".
Although I own a DVD copy of that film and could watch it any time, there's something special about getting to see it on the big screen. It's also fun to be part of a larger audience viewing the flick, especially witnessing the reactions of those who are obviously seeing the movie for the first time.
I recently heard someone describe this particular film as a classic, saying "the more times you see it, the better it gets." I don't think there are very many movies or TV shows for which that could be said.
As a matter of fact, in my opinion most of what's available today isn't worth seeing the first time, much less giving it a second look. Even in connection with those few programs on television that I regularly watch, I have no desire to see the reruns (excuse me, the "previously aired programs") when they are shown.
There are a few classics I could watch over and over -- such as "The Andy Griffith Show" -- but they are few and far between.
There aren't a lot of things in life for which it could be said that the more you are exposed to it, the better it gets. However, in the life of someone following Christ, it holds true in a number of ways. Let me point out a few of those.
The more you read the Bible, the better it gets. Some people think if they've heard the stories of the Bible a few times in Sunday School, then they no longer need to read God's Word. But for those who are seeking to know God better and to keep growing in a personal relationship with Him, the Bible is an ever-increasing source of spiritual food, daily inspiration, and divine guidance.
The Bible is a gold mine of encouraging and challenging truth for those who are willing to dig into it. No matter how often one has read its pages, the Holy Spirit can reveal fresh and relevant messages from God which speak to us and our current circumstances in life.
Secondly, the more you are exposed to Jesus, the better He gets. Religion may grow tired and stale, but a real relationship with Christ continues to be an ongoing adventure of faith.
In "North by Northwest," one of the many humorous quips comes near the end of the film from the main character as he hangs onto the side of Mount Rushmore after having gone through numerous exciting adventures while being chased by spies. When asked why his first two wives divorced him, he said that they had claimed he led too dull of a life.
Although some try to paint the Christian life as dull and boring, a relationship with Jesus becomes more exciting and meaningful as time goes by. As one old song states, "The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows."
Then there's heaven. Some people think of heaven as the type of place they could grow tired of rather quickly. But I don't believe that's the case. As eternity marches on, heaven will just get better and better for those who are enjoying its riches and are reigning with Christ forever.
I couldn't imagine anyone choosing to bypass "North by Northwest" in favor of an infomercial. Similarly, how could we trade the Christian life for other things which are temporal and unsatisfying?
Let's keep pursuing what will only get better the more we're exposed to it -- a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at RevTElder@aol.com.