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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous

 1-5 No doubt about it! God is good— good to good people, good to the good-hearted.  But I nearly missed it, missed seeing his goodness.  I was looking the other way, looking up to the people at the top, envying the wicked who have it made, who have nothing to worry about, not a care in the whole wide world. 
(Psalm 73:1-5)

It is easy for us to envy the rich, the famous, the successful in society.  We see just one side of their lives, though - that which is public and which "appears" to be glamorous.  There used to be a show on called "The Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous".  When that show hit the screen in 1984, it was all that people could flock to see.  Robin Leach would end each show with his raising of a glass of champaign and his signature salutation, "Champaign Wishes & Caviar Dreams".  

That show was one of our first glimpses at "reality television" in an era that would rapidly evolve into the "reality television" of today.  It began as a simple look into the opulent lifestyles of famous people - movie stars, sports heroes, and people who had amassed their wealth through shrewd business dealings.  People who seemed to have it all together - an flaunted what they had.  Did you know that his show ran for eleven years on syndicated TV?  It took us eleven years to figure out that what we envied no longer satisfied our yearnings!

We did not stop there - we saw the creation of "later and greater" versions of reality television.  Survivor and Big Brother pitted one group of individuals against another, conniving and cheating to get the coveted place of honor in the group that week.  Fear Factor challenged its participants to do some things that they would NEVER have done if they were not enticed by some huge financial reward.  Wife Swap became the perfect opportunity to "experiment" with changing places and roles - and became the perfect venue for poking fun at the way individuals live, their values, and their dreams.

Today, we look at where we are in comparison to where another is in life, evaluating our "successes" against the other person's.  Either we come out on top, or we fall below what we see in their achievements.  Either way, we lose! Comparing ourselves to others is a dangerous place to be.  We NEVER come out on top!  We will definitely miss seeing God's goodness in our midst if we are only focused on the world's view of success (wealth, fame, or status).  

God's goodness to us is manifest in his pursuing love.  It is evident in his unyielding grace.  It is discovered in his tender mercies.  We miss that when we set out to envy those who seem to be "all together".  If we can learn anything from "reality television" it is this - things are not always what they appear to be.  Yet, with God, what we behold in him, we receive - we have access to far greater things in him than we could ever "attain" or "achieve to" in this world.

Perhaps we should focus on the best form of "reality" - The Lifestyles of the God-Blessed and God-Held.  Probably would not attract the masses and make national syndication, but it definitely would be "worth" watching!