Does Jesus care who wins “The Amazing Race”?

I love the TV show “The Amazing Race”.  I have watched it on and off for at least 10 years.  If you’ve missed it, what you are missing is teams of 2 basically doing a car rally with a really big budget.  They race and fly around the planet, and the winning team collects $1 million.  (Well that’s the US version.  In Australia Channel 7 are a bit more strapped for cash.)

One of the things that stands out about the various contestants in how much praying they do.  It is completely common, especially in the final few legs of the race, to see people standing at a counter waiting for the last few tickets for a flight saying, “Please God, let there be 2 more seats”.  They pray everywhere for everything that they might win.  When they are driving through a traffic jam it seems that heaven is bombarded with requests.

One series in 2007 featured a lesbian couple, Kate Lewis and Pat Hendrickson from California, who are both clergy members within the Episcopalian Church.  It is fair to say that the Episcopalian Church and I differ in our interpretation of what the bible says about sexuality.  But that’s a big topic that I’m not dealing with today.

What was interesting about Kate and Pat was that they didn’t pray that they would win, or that God would help them.  They said straight up, at the start, that in their view God doesn’t care who wins The Amazing Race.  God’s concerns are elsewhere.  So whilst others were praying, the ministers were not.  Unfortunately they didn’t say what they thought God did care about instead.  Actually it is more likely that they did say, but the show’s editors did not put that comment in.

Are they right?  Does God actually care who wins a TV show?  A TV show with a very big prize?

In short, I agree with Kate and Pat.  I don’t think that God cares.

If you want to know what God does care about then here are some scriptures:

• I desire mercy, not sacrifice.

• Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

• And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

These verses show to me that God has higher priorities than the winner of The Amazing Race.  Even the big prize does not interest him greatly – he created the entire world, and all its wealth.  I think what God wants from the people who compete in The Amazing Race is that they do it in a Christlike way.  The world says to be selfish, to race without a thought for the people who you meet on the way.  To keep oneself from being polluted by the world is to run The Amazing Race as Jesus would run it.  It is to love the people who you meet – both fellow competitors, taxi drivers, and even those strange people who stand on the mat at the end of each leg.

No doubt God is sovereign over the events of our lives.  He might even have it in his plan for some of his people to the win The Amazing Race.  But he really wants all his people to run whatever their race is in a Christlike way.  He wants holiness.  He wants his kingdom to come on earth.  The outcome of reality TV shows is secondary to those things.  And I think Kate and Pat have worked that out.

John

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