Reality Shows

Reality shows: we love ’em and we hate ’em.

Reality shows give us something to talk about at the watercooler, the playground, and the party.  People bond as they replay their favorite scenes, laugh at reality stars’ foibles, and argue about what is going to happen next.

Reality shows can even teach you something new.  A family with multiple kids can demonstrate that budgeting can be done on a large scale or offer ideas for getting every member to contribute in a helpful way.

Reality shows can be destructive, becoming “live” editions of gossip magazines.  Like rubbernecking at the scene of an accident, viewers know they shouldn’t watch a couple’s relationship spontaneously combust, but they just can’t help taking a look.  “Wow, those people are messed up!” we think as we gawk at the ugly scene.

One of the realities of life is that people have a penchant for comparing themselves against others in an effort to find out how they stand in the world.  As women we wear so many hats: wife, mother, employee, caretaker, community member, friend, etc.  We can’t help but want to know if we are “doing it right”.   Reality shows just happen to give us someone or some people by which we can compare ourselves and answer the question,” Am I as ______ (bad, good, angry, self-centered, etc.) as they are?”

Reality Shows: An Old Concept

I think the “reality show” concept has been around for a long time.

I think God, having created us, knew our penchant for comparing ourselves against the lives of others.  I also think He knew how well we learn by not only reading about people’s experiences but seeing them first hand.

Take a look at Luke 5: 1-11:

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God,2 he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. (resource:

I would imagine that the people who listened to Jesus speaking that day were used to seeing this particular group of fishermen routinely cleaning their nets and hauling their catch ashore each day.  I would guess they knew many of the men by sight if not by name.

In my mind I see this community of people stopping in their tracks as they watched Simon, James and John break their regular routine and go out once more with this “Jesus” guy in their boat.  “Why are they dropping their nets in the water?  How foolish.  This isn’t the time for fishing, ” the people may have whispered to one another.

Weren’t they all surprised to see the catch of that day!  It got the attention of the people of Lake Genessaret.  Not only did this “Jesus” have some interesting things to say, but when He was around, miracles happened.  Can you imagine what the chatter was like around the “watercoolers” of that day?

Reality IS: You Are a Star

There are two neighbors of mine that pull out of their driveways at the same time that I switch on my light at my desk at the front window to begin my Bible study in the morning.  I’m not listening for that familiar muffler sound of their cars, but when it is absent from the sounds of my nieghborhood waking up, I notice.

My husband has regular customers who routinely ask about the kids and me.  He tells me how Mr. So and So remembered that Little Man swam on the community swim team last year and asked, “Will he be planning on joining this year?  And by the way, how’s your daughter’s cold doing?”

People are observing one another’s lives all the time.

There are family members, friends, and coworkers who are familiar with the routines, problems, and general beliefs that your family lives by.  People are watching and listening whether you are aware of it or not.  You’d be surprised how much they know just by observing, watching.

The truth is we are all living our own reality show.

I want to encourage you to view this as a good thing.  Lots of times we wonder where we fit in this world of billions.  “What do I have to contribute?  What difference am I really making?”

You are making an impact.  What you are doing is important.

When you love that child who challenges you left and right, you are helping him become a future blessing to his family and his community.  He will give rather than take because you have made his heart whole.  You didn’t give up on him.

When you cared for your ailing relative or the elderly neighbor you made a statement.   This country needs to respect and take care of an ever-increasing elderly population.  We cannot toss them to the side and ignore their needs.  Life still matters at the end of life.

The decision you made at work to do the “honest” thing even though no one was watching you?   It mattered.  In a world in which right and wrong are becoming subjective, defining what is “right” and DOING it are important.  In fact, it is crucial.

“In the same way let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Like Simon, James and John you can be a fisher of men, a beacon of light in a darkening world.  Your life counts. It matters.  You are having an impact.

You will get discouraged.  It will be tough.  But you can do it!   Ask Jesus to infuse you with His strength so you can give your best performance.  Live like your role in this, is the main character, because to God, you are important.  You are the apple of His eye.  He needs you.  Get back in there.  Say your next line.

Someone is watching your reality show.


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