Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Addicted to Millionaire Shows? ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Addicted to Millionaire Shows? ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

Maybe it seems kind of strong to say it that way. Still, a rash of recent TV shows, built around the possibility of winning tons of cash, has grabbed a lot of viewers. The appeal is not unlike the lure of gambling - playing to the fantasy of suddenly coming into lifestyle-changing riches.

Toss in a celebrity host, a little friendly chitchat, some trivia questions for the audience to guess at along with the contestants and ... bingo. The recipe for a hit. And we all have some harmless fun.

Or, is it always harmless? Are some people hooked on a viewing habit they'll have a hard time breaking away from? Would that be in parallel with compulsive gamblers, who struggle for freedom from self-destructive routines that looked like nothing more than harmless entertainment in the beginning?

The aim of this column isn't to dump cold water on happy TV diversion. Maybe this article is especially for those who find their thoughts just a little more fixated than they'd like on TV's winners and losers. And for others who spot a trend of thought in which reliance on chance displaces a better conviction that good is for everyone and is trustworthy.

There are steps that lead away from the allure of jackpot fantasies, and on to a surer outlook on life.

For starters, it's good to think about the meaning of true worth. Are we giving our time to what we value most - to more shared moments with loved ones; deeper appreciation for nature; plenty of healthy laughter every day? These kinds of things help most of us feel richer. But these aren't material at all. They don't hinge on fate swinging your way. In a sense, laughter, appreciation of good, and so on, are free gifts to us from the giver of all good.

God is infinite. God's love for us is endless. The blessings God gives are unvarying. Consider, though, that in the haste to "get ahead," we could zoom past God's free gifts without accepting any of them. Talk about losing instead of winning! How much better to pause and view what God has done.

Again and again, the Bible steers readers away from the piling up of material wealth and points us to what is more enduring - "the things that are freely given to us of God" (I Cor. …

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