Everything Is Upside Down
Everything Is Upside Down
If you could get a ticket for one talk show studio audience to sit in, which one would you chose? It’s safe to say that either The Oprah Winfrey Show or The Ellen DeGeneres Show would probably get the highest number of votes, and for the some obvious reason. Both of these women are known for getting A-list celebrities to visit their couches. Both of these women are known for addressing current hot button issues facing our society. But most importantly, both of these women are known for giving away great prizes to the studio audiences.
On September 13th, 2004, Oprah surprised her entire audience with brand a new car, a fully loaded Pontiac G6. Her line, “You get a car! You get a car! You get a car! Everyone gets a car!” became legendary in the annuals of TV history! Oprah’s parent company paid for 276 new cars to be given away to just ordinary people but some were not so ordinary. Oprah’s staff secretly handpicked former audience members who were down on their luck, people they knew could use some a new car, people who were financially struggling (note: not all of the audience members were hand picked, but most were). Oprah’s staff even had medical professionals back stage, in the event that people were so overcome with shock they needed medical attention.
But, some negativity did come from this unbelievably amazing gesture by Oprah. Although the parent company, Harpo Inc did pay for the cars, sales tax and registration, each audience member was responsible to pay for a “gift tax”. Depending on the state from which the audience member lived (most in California), the out of pocket cost for the free car was upwards of $7,000. Many people did “pay” for the free car and many others chose to accept a smaller cash gift. In the end, the negative response by some of the audience members due to the financial obligations devastated the producers of the show.
Imagine Jesus hosting his very TV show and the audience is packed from hill to hill! The crowd is so excited to see if the hype is worth the effort to attend this lesson, not necessarily convenient for the ordinary person! The sun is beginning to get hot and people are practically sitting on each other. This first appearance has been hundreds of years in the making, predicted by very gifted individuals!
Jesus climbs the hills, takes the stage, then says in a loud voice...”You get to go to Heaven! You get to go to Heaven! You get to go to Heaven!” And the crowd erupts into mass chaos...yelling, screaming, crying, hysteria!
The scene probably did not look like Oprah’s show, I’m guessing it exactly the opposite! People hung on to every word of Jesus, quietly listening to His Message, clutching every word close to their hearts!
Matthew 5:3-12 - [Jesus] said: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
These words were truly amazing by Jesus! The people that he “Blessed”, gave special attention honor, were not the leaders in society, the athletes, the famous, the wealthy, the powerful, etc. The people that Jesus mentioned, “You get to go to Heaven!” Weren’t uttered to the most righteous, or to the people who were from certain families. But it was a gift, to everyone who would accept it.
Participation Trophies are a highly debated issue...especially to those that work the hardest and win a championship on the field of play. Why is it fair that everyone who shows up gets a trophy (regardless of their level of work, play, wins, losses, etc)? Everyone who showed up to Oprah’s show got a car but how is that fair to the viewer of 20 years who was not able to travel to California to watch a live taping? In the upside down world of Jesus, there are people who seem to have all the world can offer, the money, the talent, the prestige, but they don’t have Jesus, and because of that, in the new heaven and new Earth they’ll have nothing. The upside down way of Jesus makes grace unfair, makes eternity a gift, it levels the playing field for everyone involved. The upside down way unites everyone who calls Jesus savior, under the name above all names.