by: Pastor Dave “Big D” Bentley
You might not know this about me, I have been a closet Dancing with the Stars fan for the past four seasons. My wife “forced” me to watch through a season with her a while back and since then, while I don’t often admit it so publicly, I have been hooked. I like almost everything about the show. The banter with the judges, the performances, the laughter, the frustration, the epic atmosphere. Like most fans of the program I have people I like, and people I think should be “voted off the island.”
There is something that I find disappointing, and it was highlighted again last night for me in the elimination broadcast. I wasn’t surprised with the person who went home—Kendra Wilkinson just didn’t have the heart as far as I could tell for the ball room. What disappointed me was that Chelsea Kane could be in jeopardy of departing the program.
I think that Chelsea is the best contestant and shows the most promise for bringing home the mirror ball trophy at the close of the season. Problem is that it doesn’t really seem to matter what I think, or who I believe is the best. The decision is up to the general public who votes each week on their choice for the best, and the judges who score the dancers based on technical merit and entertainment. Even so, I couldn’t believe that Chelsea was left standing beside the soon to be departed Kendra last night as one of the options to be sent packing.
In the four seasons I’ve watched I have had this experience every season, and sometimes watched in agony as someone I believed should have gone all the way instead, because they lacked the votes they walked away. I have yet to see my favorite go the distance and win, although with Kelly Osborne and Bristol Palin I have at least had my horse “show” in the competition.
Thing is, as my wife points out to me frequently, I really can’t complain because, as much as I might enjoy the program or be a fan of one of the celebs, I don’t usually vote. Since whether or not the dancer remains on the program is based in large part on the votes received I am doing a disservice to my favorite by not picking up the phone at the end of Monday nights show and casting my ballot (however many we’re allowed) for them. So, next Monday night I intend to do my duty and fulfill my responsibility to my favorite duo of dancers and vote.
(I’m not even going to bring up American Idol which my wifestarted me watching this year and I have since boycotted with the ouster of Pia—who I didn’t vote for either.)
So, what’s my point?
Wouldn’t it be awful if life were like these programs. We had to perform to a certain standard in order to get a good score from the judges, and we were dependent on the votes of others who would cast a ballot for us based on…well who knows what really. As long as we scored high enough and got enough votes eventually we could make it into heaven. Life would be frustrating and exhausting, and we would never have any sense of security or worth. Sadly, there are many people living life just like that. They follow some sort of spiritual “check-list” to make sure they have everything in order. They place their lists of accomplishments and deeds on the altar before God in an effort to—if at all possible—gain His favor. They base their existence here and their admittance into heaven on what they can do and give to win the highest score.
The flip side is that you just come to a point where you don’t care and you can’t be bothered to try anymore. That is equally as heart-breaking.
There is another option, a greater option. It’s known as Grace. In a book I read years ago called GRACE WALK it recounted the futile efforts to earn God’s favor and the fact that God’s Favor (His Grace) is ours for the asking if we will receive Him by faith.
8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast.
This removes all of the effort of attaining God’s favor from our shoulders, and allows us to focus on discovering what His purpose and intention is for our lives. See, that passage is followed with this:
10 For we are His creation—created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.
God has a plan specifically tailored for our lives, and purpose that is designed to fit us perfectly. Discovering and fulfilling that isn’t about getting a high score from the judge, or winning a big enough fan-base to keep us on the program one more week, it is about being who we were created to be.
Next Monday I’ll be watching DWTS (see I’ve even learned the lingo for the show) and I intend to vote at the end of the show as often as I am allowed for my favorite couple. But I’ll leave each day grateful that there are no numbers appearing on the bottom of my life that people need to call to cast a vote to keep me, and that my Father in Heaven doesn’t hold a numbered paddle in his hand that could mean I score to low to gain His approval. I am approved through the death and resurrection of the one who gave it all and did it all so that I could live.
Let me close with these incredibly reassuring words from Scripture:
31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He did not even spare His own Son, but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything?
33 Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies. 34 Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. 35 Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: Because of You we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. 37 No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us.
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Be Blessed…And Dance Without Fear in Christ!