Batman, Destiny, Season Passes & Passing Seasons
When I was a kid video games didn’t even have the option to save. You had to start over every single time. So needless to say there have been some hefty developments and advancements in the world of video games. My living situation also kept me out of the realm of Downloadable Content and Multiplayer for years. I spent the first several years of my adult life living at a Bible camp out in the middle of the woods with dial up as my only internet option, so the concept of gaming with my friends online was borderline non-existent. Finally a few years ago I moved into a city and got high speed internet which opened doors for multiplayer and such to start booming.
Beyond just DLC and multiplayer fragging with friends and verbally abusive strangers, other developments were showing up in the gaming world. Namely the concept of the season pass. This was basically this agreement between you and the gaming industry that you were cool signing on to pay a large sum of money for them to keep giving you content to add on to your game, even though you may not have any earthly idea what that content was going to be like. You are basically telling them that you are going to trust them to give you good content, and that you are committing to play a certain game
for an extended period of time. That's a lot of faith in the gaming industry. Funny enough, though that's a lot like what we experience when we follow God's plan for our life. Especially if we feel like He is calling us or leading us somewhere. We feel God leading us to move, but with no guarantee of how long we are going to be in a certain place, or how He is going to make things happen, but just simply that we are going to trust what He brings us and commit to follow through with it.
Look at how that played out with Abram in Genesis 12, "1 The Lord had said to Abram, 'Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.' 4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran."
God basically sold Abram a season pass for his life. He had no idea how it was going to play out but he trusted that what God was going to do would be worth it. We see the same attitude when Jesus called the disciples. In Matthew 4 we see this: "18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him."
Jesus didn’t even give a lot of hype with his sales pitch, yet these guys followed right along.
In gaming the concept of the season pass isn't actually that old. Officially the first season pass came into existence in 2011 with the Rockstar game "L.A. Noire." It was a bit ahead of its time but the concept kept going. Soon season passes were as standard as pre-orders. It seems like almost every game offers a season pass now, even if there's no real reason for that game to have one. There aren't many games I trust enough to order a season pass though. Very few. If it's a Batman Arkham Game, I'm gonna get one. If it's...well ok...maybe those are the only games I straight up wholeheartedly trust, but it's not the only season pass I've ever purchased. Generally Rockstar games put out good content. The DLC content of Fallout, BioShock, and a few others gets debatable depending on what you are into. But I knew for a fact when I stood in line at Gamestop and they offered me a Season Pass for Mortal Kombat X that it was a flat no. Because I knew myself. I was going to play the story mode, beat up some friends and then either
trade it in, or sell it to a friend. I knew that I wasn’t in it for the real commitment when it came to Mortal Kombat X. This is how some of us are with our faith. We treat God like He, and the path He is leading us on, is Mortal Kombat X. We plan to check it out, enjoy it while it's fun, but the minute it's inconvenient, boring, or just not fun anymore, we back out.
Much like the former disciples we see in John 6. Jesus had been teaching on a deeper level than the masses were down with and this is what followed. "60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” 61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” 66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him."
These guys were on the casual faith status and not interested in the season pass. Sometimes we just get so distracted too that we forget that we have made these commitments, or that God is going to provide for us. Not that it's intentional or we are choosing to walk away, we just get distracted. This summer I (of course) pre-ordered Arkham Knight, got the season pass, and played the campaign like my life depended on it. But then at the same time I was in the process of planting/launching a church.
So once I finished the basic shell of the campaign, I put Arkham away. I may have played some other games, but just never got back to it. Well on Halloween, after 4 months of not picking Arkham up, I hopped on for a second only to find that there was a lot, and I mean a lot, of Season Pass material waiting on me. Character skins, challenges, missions, vehicles, and not only that, there was still months worth of content to come. I had missed out on 4 months worth of actually fun gaming content because I was too busy to see what was going on in my game life (granted, I was planting a church and that's much more important than a video games, but work with me here).
We see similarities in the often told story of Mary and Martha. We know the familiar concept, Martha is focused on doing the work, Mary is focused on her time with Jesus (season pass status). Martha gets angry and asks Jesus to tell her sister to get to work, and in Luke 10, this is what we see as his response, "41 'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”"
When we are following God, and truly giving Him our lives we have to make sure we don’t get so busy and burdened we miss out on what He is offering us.
Finally, we need to remember that Season Passes are just that, for a season. Destiny is/was one of my favorite games. I bought the season pass and thoroughly enjoyed the whole run of it, considering the season pass gave me content for a whole year. I knew what was coming out relatively far out, knew kind of what to expect, it gave me things to look forward to, and community to enjoy with my friends. But now, it's over. My season pass is up. I've raided the Vault of Glass, brought down the House Of Wolves, cleaned house in the Prison of Elders, killed Crota, and faced off against Oryx himself. All of that was great, but now that season is over. Who knows, maybe there will be more to come in the future, but for right now, this season is over for me. I still pop on to play with friends and chat while we shoot things, but there's nothing left for me there. This has been the same situation in my life and ministry. When I left Camp Grace it was because I had done all I accomplished there and I truly believe my season had passed. When I left Berea it was the same thing; I believed I had completed what God called me to and it was time to go. I've only been on staff at Vertical Church for 6 months, but I know that God has me here for a season, and it's my responsibility to give Him my all while I'm in this season. Looking Biblically, God rarely called people to do anything for their whole life other than to love Him. When he called people, it was for a season. Look at Ecclesiastes 3, "1There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him."
God wants us to be able to give Him our commitment that we will follow Him in whatever season He leads us, that we won't be too distracted to see what He is doing, and even to follow Him when that season he called us to is up, then reset and do the whole thing over.