Reality TV is such an odd title for shows made for television. Immensely popular, they are not known to provide much ‘reality.’ Would you believe there is a glimpse of divine design to be seen in shows such as Junk Gypsies, Pawn Stars, Rehab Addict and even Super Nanny? Their popularity sprouts from a place deep within us that calls us to uncover treasure. In a world which chases recognition as a sign of success, a deep longing for intrinsic value to be recognized exists. Reality TV shows that focus on restoration, whether transforming trash, rehabbing a shabby home or healing broken families, speak a truth we know in the depths of our souls: true treasures are worthy of time and effort. That deep longing within us finds its roots in the creation of mankind.
Travel back with me to the Genesis record of creation. Each day of creation finds God assessing His work with “…and it was good.” On that last day of creation, when He brought forth man, God said about the day’s work, “…it was very good.” All of creation expressed the nature of God: it was good. Man had an added supply of glorious goodness, for humanity bears the very stamp of God. Man has a moral capacity to think and choose. Our lifetime responsibility is to find the image of God within (ourselves, others and the earth itself) and reveal it to the lost! What a glorious purpose: to care for the goodness God created in a way which points back to the Creator! That truth: that we are caretakers by design draws us to the restoration reality shows. We find joy as we live out the plans God intends.
Reality TV shows portray a dangerous path though. In them, the work is done by others. The economy of God does not work that way. Each of us has a job to do…a job no one else can ever do for us. In ‘non-Reality TV,’ we enjoy thirty minutes of comfort while someone else does the work and reveals the treasures! That is what the serpent promised Eve…an Easy Street to God. Deceptive short-cuts actually destroy desire—and keep treasures hidden. Adam and Eve found that out all too quickly. The devil slid in and planted some doubt about the goodness of God. Almost immediately their desire to enjoy His goodness departed.
Easy Street is really a literal Dead End. The same is true today. The word, Eden, resembles a Hebrew verb for desire. Enjoying paradise requires active desire! We read in that Genesis account that God tucked treasures into the land of Eden: pure gold, rare perfumes and precious stones. Instead of chatting with the serpent, Adam and Eve could have been exploring the treasures of their God. They could have been on a glorious adventure. The same is true for each of us! There are treasures in our world, too. There are glories of God waiting for us to discover them…they are worthy of our time and effort.