By Rick Lewers
You only live once, so make sure you know the Universe’s rules
I am fascinated by reality TV. Whether it be Renovation Rumble, House Rules or My Kitchen Rules, it is clear that every contestant is trying to rule. When I was at school, and later with my sons, a 'rumble' had nothing to do with building but it did have a lot to do with ruling.
I am very interested in reality TV's use of the word 'Rules'.
There is a famous parable of a wealthy and successful man who appeared to be ruling his life rather well. He was so successful, he planned a complete renovation of his property but this was not to provide for others' needs, no, his complete motivation was to satisfy his own stomach.
His prize when the renovation project was done would be the ability to sit back, eat, drink and be merry. You would be forgiven in our age for thinking that this man ruled his own life well. He appeared to have made a great assessment of his life situation, economically and in terms of his pleasure seeking.
In the parable's conclusion, Jesus, the originator of the tale, said the man's problem was that he made no accounting for the Judge of the Universe. He thought he was wise. God said he was a fool. He had forgotten the most important of house rules. He built with no regard for God.
With his plans before him, a glass of wine in his hand, and some big dreams for his future he dropped dead, exposing this glaring mistake.
A person ruled by their stomach and their possessions often makes this mistake, for which there is no prize.
At least on MKR and House Rules, those seeking the prize never lose sight of the judge.
First, there are the super judges who are rather despotic. Then comes peer judgement by fellow contestants who deep down don't want others to succeed. Finally, there are the unseen judges like myself, sitting in a living room somewhere debating the merits of those with whom we have no relationship.
“Those seeking the prize never lose sight of the judge”Why such religious effort on these shows? Why do they work like slaves all week to satisfy judges who pick their efforts apart? It is all about the prize. And such is the prize, they religiously compare themselves with each other and even compete with one another to gain the judges' favour. Religiously they 'do, do, do' in an attempt to win a better future: if only I offer the sacrifice of the perfect meal I could one day own my own restaurant; or if only I build the best temple or shrine then my debt will be cancelled and we can sit back, eat, drink and be merry.
Well, that is religion and the practice of the religious – people seeking to satisfy a judge or judges who do not really care about them personally, and whom the person doesn't really know, in the uncertain desire of attaining a better future.
Many people think that is what Christianity is all about – and they could not be more wrong. Christianity is not about 'do, do, do' but about what has been 'done' for us by the person of Jesus Christ. It is not about a judge who picks away at our efforts but the Judge powerful enough to repair them. Christianity is about the God who builds a future for us that we could never build for ourselves. Christianity is about a Saviour who makes right every life renovation bungle with forgiveness, and repairs every failed recipe for life with the right ingredients.
Christianity is about God, who through His undeserved love, seeks to decorate your life with everything that is beautiful, noble and honourable. It is about God's invitation to wine and dine with Him at the greatest banquet in heaven. There's the prize, not for your efforts, but for the efforts of Jesus Christ. It is not a prize for us but a gift, and the only judgement you need ever fear from Him is the one reserved for those who reject His invitations. •