I like the good she does for humanity. I like that she gives bookoos of her money away to help people. She changes people's lives. She raises awareness. She encourages action. I like that very much. I watch her show often. She has achieved the incredible, and she inspires me to move forward with my goals.
But I'm not sure I like her new show, The Big Giveaway. Something about competitive giving. It doesn't sit quite right in me. Something about giving for all America to see. Giving to win.
It's not only that Jesus' words keep running over in my head.
"1 Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:1-4)
Who knows how much money Oprah, personally, (not Oprah, the T.V. producer), gives away that nobody sees? I don't know. I can't, shouldn't, judge her life for what I see on T.V. I won't.
It was something she said today. And something Simon Cowell said today, on her show, that got me thinking.
Yesterday I heard a sermon by Tim Keller (here we go again...it's just too good, people!), and part of what he said was like this:
So what is sin, really? In all of Nicodemus' good lifestyle, what was it that kept him from the kingdom of God? It was, and is, man's completely self-centered idea of himself. Of his existence, his worth, his future, his meaning, his esteem. Jesus was saying that nothing Nicodemus did could excuse him from this state of sin. So when we do something good for the self-centered reason of being good, of winning points for the sake of righteousness, of thinking we are wonderful, of thinking we are more loved by God, better, SELF-righteous, we miss the mark. We misunderstand Christ. And we are not one step nearer to the kingdom of God. To God, himself. Because it's CHRIST'S sacrifice that saves us.
SO! Back to Oprah. Her guest today was Simon Cowell, the American Idol guru, and T.V./record producer. He talked about who would win this season. He showed off his new girl that won in Britain, and his ventriliquist that won America's Got Talent, and then he gave $165,000 to a family whose three year old daughter is receiving chemo and radiation for cancer. He wrote a check for $165,000 to pay off their mortgage. Here's the conversation that took place after he gave the money away, in more or less words:
Simon: I feel really good.
Oprah: Yes! Giving Makes You Feel Good!!
Simon: Yeah, I do. I feel really good.
Oprah: Giving Makes You Feel Good! That's the Point!
Simon: It took me forty something years to realize that and I credit you, Oprah, for bringing it to light.
Oprah: Me? When did you first figure it out?
Simon: Today. Today I can say: I'm a guardian angel now.
Giving Makes You Feel Good. That's the point. I'm a guardian angel now.
That bothered me. It seems that the American idea of giving, as stated here on the Oprah show, is meant to give yourself a little boost. To esteem yourself. It's about what you get out of it. After all, doesn't the Bible say, give and it will be given unto you. You reap what you sow. Feeling good is natural, isn't it? Did Jesus feel good when he raised Lazarus from the dead? When he fed the multitudes and healed the sick? When he died on the cross? Or should it feel bad? Should it feel like bearing your cross? Like being crucified with Christ? Like a sacrifice?