Harpo Productions, Inc. has announced their first primetime network series, The Big Give. The described purpose of this show is to inspire people around the country to do good for others. The Big Give challenges contestants to dream up creative and innovative ways to help others. Contestants chosen to compete on the show travel through the U.S. completing tasks based around the communities’ needs and changing the lives within them.
While the premise of the show appears to be for a great cause-helping others who are in need, and on the surface shows unselfish acts which are rarely found on TV, I can’t help but wonder the implications the show will have on viewers. The main problem I have with the show is that giving is not meant to be a competition of what person can give a “better” gift. I hate the idea that a contestant on the show is kicked off every night by a panel of judges if they were deemed to not give to “worthy” enough people or because the contestant failed to come up with an unusually creative way to give what they had been given.
Luke 21 is a passage in the Bible that has always stuck with me since I heard a sermon on it at camp back in Jr. High. It’s the story of the Widow’s Mites. It talks about the rich giving a small portion of their wealth and the widow putting in everything she had-two measly mites. After, Jesus says, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”
There are some different trinkets of wisdom you can take from this passage, but the one that strikes me the most is the fact that the widow gave so little, but the meaning behind what she gave was huge. It was faith on her part that she was giving to something she believed in. She was giving in faith that her two little mites would somehow be multiplied enough to be useful to the Lord and His work however He saw fit. Although there was a definite monetary limit to what she gave and the material limitations were even more impractical, she gave anyways knowing that her small donation would make a difference. She wasn’t put off by being surrounded by the wealth being flaunted around her, and she wasn’t concerned that her little offering would be laughed at. It was what she had.
Oprah’s show somehow belittles the fact that there are people all over the world who give what little they have quietly to those in need around them despite their own. They may not have a million dollars to donate, and they may not have ideas on a grand scale to put into practice, but they give anyways. Why do we elevate people who give the biggest and the best? Shouldn’t we all just have an attitude that we look out for opportunities to give in what ever way we see a need for without wondering if it will be seen as good enough? No rewards, no recognition, no individual elevation for giving the most or in the most creative way.
Sorry Oprah, I think you meant well, but it’s not going anywhere for me.