Last Sunday evening millions were gathered around their TV’s to watch the spectacular closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics. This Sunday it will be Hollywood’s big night. The Academy Awards, commonly known as The Oscars. (The annual American awards ceremony honoring achievements in the film industry. Although it seems these days it has become more of a fashion show and focus on who’s wearing what by which designer, and whether they make the best or worst dressed list.) Winners are awarded the statuette, officially the Academy Award of Merit, that is much better known by its nickname Oscar. (It is 13.5 in tall, weighs 8.5 lbs. and depicts a knight holding a crusader’s sword standing on a reel of film with five spokes. The five spokes represent the original branches of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers, and Technicians.) The Olympic Gold Medal of film!
I’m always amazed at these awards ceremonies and all the insane preparation and exorbitant amount of publicity, money, and attention that surrounds them. It’s a bit of a mystery how actors and the film industry have become such idols in our society. Celebrities, showered with an exorbitant amount of wealth and entitlement for a job, that is by what some consider, a frivolous occupation; as compared to let’s say a brain surgeon or a firefighter.
Now I am all for recognizing outstanding achievement in one’s field and greatly appreciate the talent and skill that goes into making good movies. (I have two daughters interested in this field of work as well as a true love for inspirational tales told through film myself.) However, seeing how this industry and the people who are a part of it have been elevated to the level of Gods in our society is another story. Not seeing past the glitz and glamour and what really lies beneath, we idolize the film industry community and their privileged lives thinking “if only I could have what they have …”.
“You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).
It seems when we leave God out of the picture and elevate man or objects to be our God, we set ourselves up for great loss. Grant it, there is immense reward, adoration, and success for a season, but it is temporal, empty and hollow; and will ultimately separate us from God’s eternal blessing. I see the tragic loss of those like Philip Seymour Hoffman, an Oscar winning actor who recently lost his life to a drug overdose, as a prime example of this. He had it all in the eyes of the world. Yet there was something huge missing in his life that sucked him into a pain numbing world of drugs and addiction.
God will leave us to our own destructive devices when we don’t trust in Him, His love and perfect plan for our lives. He will not stand in our way if we choose to make ourselves, others, statues, or anything that takes His place, our God. But it grieves His heart deeply. Not because He is a killjoy or the “Old man in heaven with a white beard waiting for us to mess up and zap us”, but instead because of His extreme love for us. He knows where the path of idolatry leads us. He knows what a life without Him in the center of it creates. A pervasive sense of something missing, emptiness, loneliness, darkness, misery. A hole in our hearts that only He can fill.
So, as I enjoy watching the Oscars this Sunday evening with my daughter, I will applaud the talent and accomplishments of all who are a part of the film world, but I will also be praying for them that do not know Him. Prayers they would come to recognize that without God in the center of their lives, having fame and stardom or winning every Oscar possible will still not bring soul fulfillment, joy and peace. Prayers for recognition that it is GOD who gave them the talent and ability to be a star. Prayers that this special gift that has been bestowed on them would be used to bring glory to God instead of themselves.
I will also guard my own heart to not allow anything or anyone to become an idol or god in my life other than the Lord Jesus. I know in God’s eyes as His treasured daughter, I have won an “Oscar” in my life-giving relationship with Him!
For His glory,