The king of all reality television is "Survivor." It was one of the first and it remains one of the most popular. For nine years American audiences have watched players outwit, outlast, and outplay one another in a game in which people are voted off the island. Double-crosses, alliances, tricks and strategies are all part of getting rid of others so that the winner is the last person left the Survivor, who takes home a prize of $1 Million.
I wish I knew what it was about "Survivor" that bugs me. Maybe its the fact that it seems to tap into the Survival of the Fittest, Dog-Eat-Dog mentality that brings out the worst in our culture.
Its not just a game. I wonder if we dont sometimes think that to get ahead we have to compete. Outwit, outlast, and outplay is more than a catchphrase for a game show. Its tapping into our worst fears as we struggle for our own way and for (what we think are) limited resources.
"Survivor" ends wrongly also. After all the alliances and backbiting, the game comes down to two people. A jury decides who will get the $1 Million. Thats revealed on a big final episode in New York, and the winner celebrates and all the losers are there to act like good sports. If "Survivor" is going to be true to its creed (Outwit, Outplay, Outlast) then I think the final "Survivor" should be left alone on the island with the $1 Million. After all, if the point is to get rid of everyone else, then really do it. Leave the winner with the cash and a note that says, You got rid of everyone else. You outlasted them all. Heres the cash. Now use it to get off the island.
That would be a more fitting conclusion I think.
You wont see a lot of giving encouraged on "Survivor." Not unless there are strings attached. I could comment on a game show and we could all walk out of here lamenting how horrid TV is and we wont gain a thing. But lets stop and ask ourselves how we escape the corruption of mindsets and worldviews that make us think the goal is to outwit, outplay, and outlast. For if we do stick to that sort of mindset and behavior in family, work, society, or church, we will find ourselves stuck alone with cash and no one to share it with, spend it on, or buy things from.
The antidote to the poison of selfishness is giving. Giving is a discipline that develops our godly character. Last week we mentioned how we are blessed when we give in. We participate in heavens economy when we share freely with one another. Sharing with one another as church is the mission of God at work in this world. But Gods kingdom is always larger than his church. God is drawing in the outsiders and adding them to his church.
Giving Out means ...
Outflowing of Gods Grace
Caring about the Outsider
Outrage at poverty and injustice
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