Digital killed the video store

All things have—or will—come to an end. Except for one thing.

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“There is now only one Blockbuster left on earth” is how the world’s media dubbed the closure of Australia’s last Blockbuster video store in the Perth suburb of Morley, WA, earlier this year.

Leaving the last remaining Blockbuster in Oregon, Chicago, USA.

The end of an era.

It wasn’t too long ago that families would pack out video stores to rent a few VHS tapes or DVDs of the latest flicks or even older classics. I’m sure many of us recall rushing into the rental store to check out the new releases (or maybe it was to beat the late fees?), perusing through the aisles, having our curiosity piqued by the many unique film covers and titles, and just wandering around looking for a good movie to watch. Maybe you recall that time when you got home and were shocked and disgusted to find the disc scratched and unplayable, or maybe you remember rushing in on the first hour of the first day of a new release, just to find out that the film you were looking for was already sold out! (Gasp!)

Those were the days when the video rental store reigned supreme.

"Industries that were once seen as critical to the function of society have become obsolete or automated."

Then Netflix.

The same Netflix that delivered a far simpler subscription system. The same Netflix that promised “no late fees”. The same Netflix that embraced innovation and technology and adopted the internet and online streaming, dooming the future of the rental store.

Once the video store ruled the entertainment world—now it’s Netflix and digital streaming. Someday new technology and new services will overtake Netflix, and what we know of online streaming will end. Soon the era of Google and Facebook will come to a close, superseded by something flashier, simpler and more convenient. It’s not just the video store that suffers such a fate. Fashion and pop culture trends have come and gone, once popular and world-renowned music have become outdated and antiquated. Industries that were once seen as critical to the function of society have become obsolete or automated.

All of these things have come to an end—and all of it will come to an end.

Except one thing.

The words of Jesus.

Jesus once said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35). Through it all; through the zenith and fall of art-forms; through the establishment and demise of philosophical, humanistic and political ideas; through world-changing revolutions, changing world leaders; through the ascendancy of numerous musicians, film stars and celebrities, through the heights of the video stores—Jesus’ words survived them all. All those other things have passed away, but Jesus’ words have never passed away and, according to recent trends, look like they never will.

Through it all, the everlasting words of the Bible have thrived. Despite being an ancient document written across centuries by more than 40 different authors, the Bible has remained the best-selling Book for over a century—selling more than 100 million copies yearly since the start of the 20th century.

While everything in history has had its time, while the era of the rental store has come to an end and while the digital era may not last forever, God’s words and God’s promises have never, and will never, pass away.