Not only was I wrong about the name of this show, I think I might have been wrong about the show, period.
I watched it again tonight. Each contestant had 24 hours to give away $100,000. They could give up to $500 per person and up to $10,000 per location. The challenge was to give away all $100,000 before the 24 hours were up, as creatively as possible. But the gifts could not be the cash itself. It had to be in a different form. I watched one contestant buy groceries for the first 100 people to enter a grocery store in an impoverished area of town. I watched one contestant send 20 random people in a Target on a 5 minute shopping spree, up to $500 each. Turns out one of those 20 people was living in a homeless shelter at the time with his family. I saw one man buy truckloads of electronic equipment and hand deliver them to the doorsteps of impoverished neighborhoods. Another guy paid off outstanding debts on remaining cars in a mechanic shop. One woman bought $10,000 worth of bus and rail passes for a charity that helps foster girls make the transition from foster homes out into the real world.
I was moved by the reactions of the people who received. They raised their hands toward God. Genuine joy and thankfulness. A light of hope shown in their eyes. Something that said, it's been real hard but I know I can make it now. And at that point it wasn't about the contestants. It was about the people whose lives were changed. The contestants themselves weren't thinking of themselves but of the best way to help people in need. It was about the contestants searching within themselves to meet the challenge, not about competing with each other.
And as I sat on my couch watching others help, I thought, am I doing what I can? Not...I wish I had $100,000 to give away. Just...to help meet a need. To just open my eyes, look around me, and give. Personally. Purposefully. If I wondered any further about the contestants, or Oprah, or Simon Cowell, I remembered my butt on the couch. And if I were to ask Jesus about them, he would ask why I was asking and tell me to worry about myself.
And I think that T.V. is one thing, and someone's personal life is another. That the purpose and workings of a T.V. show could be set apart, to an extent, from the purposes and workings of an individual life. Maybe. And that it doesn't really matter anyway. The point is the 8 yr old boy wrapped his arms around a stranger because his dad could pick the car up from the mechanic shop and take it home that day.