More than 39 million people were expected to watch this year’s Academy Awards program. Jim and I were two of them. I even watched the “pre-game” show so I could see what everyone was wearing. Or in the case of Jennifer Lopez . . . not wearing. Millions of us held our breath as she made her Oscar presentation. Jennifer was only one strong sneeze away from an international wardrobe malfunction. Maybe that is why she and Cameron Diaz had their backs to us when the camera returned to them!
I had seen several of the movies that were nominated. My personal favorite was The Help. A friend recommended the book to me and I loved every page of it. The movie was good, the book was great. I was happy for Octavia Spencer, and disappointed for Viola Davis and Jessica Chastain. I would have voted for all three of them. Meryl Streep did a wonderful job portraying Margaret Thatcher, as far as I know. Margaret Thatcher may have a different opinion. I had a hard time staying awake for The Artist. I guess I’m not a huge fan of the silent movie. But it was still fun to hear whose name was read after the presenter said, “And the award goes to…”.
I watch several of the award shows. I saw the Grammy Awards, but this year I had never heard of most of the songs. I like the Emmy Awards but I’ve never seen most of the shows that win. I like the Country Music Awards, but I rarely listen to country music. What makes award shows so popular? For me it is the knowledge that these ordinary people have found a way to be extraordinary. When Octavia Spencer accepted her Oscar, she just shook her head and let the tears fall. It was easy to feel good about her extraordinary moment. Most of us will never be asked “And who are you wearing tonight?” unless we have a sleeping child draped over our shoulder. Most of us will never be offered diamond encrusted jewelry to wear for the evening unless we have a close friend or family member who wants to be generous. Most of us will never hear our name called after the phrase, “and the award goes to.” But if you are a Christian, there is an awards day in your future!
You won’t have to worry about what to wear because a white robe will be provided (Revelation 7:9-14). You won’t have to worry about competing with anyone else for the award because you are guaranteed to win (John 10:28-29). I have no idea if there will be any jewelry in heaven, but it might be part of our treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:19-20). The point is this, Christians will be invited to and dressed for the most important awards show in all of history. You will be handed the same award as God handed Moses, Isaiah, Esther, Peter, Lydia and Paul. Most of us would be unable to remember who received an Oscar for best supporting actress, six years ago or even two years ago. But, if the Lord tarries, our great-grandchildren will still be talking about Paul.
I’ve enjoyed leading book reviews on The Help. I think there is a lot to pay attention to in that story. Each time I lead a review I point out the fact that this book was turned down by 60 different publishers before it was finally picked up by Penguin. (I’ll bet there are a few editors who lost their corner office over that one!) It is back in the number one slot on the New York Times bestseller list for the 46th week. What was so appealing about that book? For me, The Help was about a movement that changed the way people in our nation thought. When people began to think differently, they began to act differently. A Proverb says that, “as a man thinks, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). People often ask us about our ministry at Denison Forum. I often say that we want to help people learn how to “think biblically.” If we can help people think biblically, then they will act biblically. And we would see our culture and our country adjust itself to God’s values. (Imagine Jennifer Lopez in something more tasteful!)
For today, take note that there is an awards day in your future. You will be given a crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4), a mansion (John 14:2), and the opportunity to live in God’s presence eternally (Revelation 21:1-4). “When Kathryn Stockett wrote The Help she had no idea she would have to endure 60 rejections before someone said “yes.” God said “yes” the first time you asked and his “yes” is forever! The writer of Hebrews said, “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1-2). There is an awards day in your future. Persevere because one day God will say, “and the award goes to . . . (insert your name here!)