Here's today's confession. I watch reality tv. And I let my kids watch reality tv. We watch it together. We watch The Amazing Race, American Idol, Deadliest Catch, and Survivor every week. Josh and I watch So You Think You Can Dance when it's on. And the boys in the family watch lots of reality tv on Discovery like Swamp Loggers, Ice Road Truckers, Swamp People, etc. (Are those reality or documentary?) Usually these shows are just purely entertainment. I can't even tell you who last year's winners were or how much crab was caught. But it's fun to watch.
This year's Survivor, however, has proven to be more. There's a contestant on the show who is very open about his religious beliefs which happen to be very similar to mine. He's a Bible believing, praying, God fearing Christian. Which has caused trouble for him from the very beginning. You see, after the very first challenge when the other team won, he went over and congratulated them and shook hands with one of their competitors. A few members of his team didn't like that and voted him off first. They saw what he did as weakness and a threat to their tribal unity.
But this year there's a twist. When voted off, the contestants go to Redemption Island and get the chance to compete to re-enter the game. Well, Matt won every challenge and rejoined the tribe a few weeks ago. Where once again he was promptly voted off and sent back to Redemption Island. He was discouraged to say the least. But the show, on national tv, showed him praying and crying out to the Lord. Amazing. And guess what? He's still in the game. He has won his way to the last few weeks of the show and has a chance to join the tribe again. Which in itself is quite an accomplishment. But even more so is the effect he's had on the other contestants. When Julie lost her challenge against Matt, she was okay with it and said that he had inspired her to go home and find a church family to be a part of.
And last week, when Mike, one of Matt's opponents who he's been having Bible studies with on the island, had the choice to spend time with his mom who had been flown in or give this gift to the other contestants, the very ones who had voted him out, he talked about reading Matt's Bible and referred to the verse where Jesus tells us to love others more than ourselves. And then he gave his "enemies" his prize and they got to spend time with their love ones while his mom left without even getting to hug her son. When she was asked about it, she said she wasn't surprised. She was proud of his decision and thought he did the right thing. (Here it is if you want to watch. It's about 14 1/2 minutes into the episode. Matt's the young man with longish blond hair in the yellow tee shirt.)
I couldn't believe what I was watching. This young man competing on a tv show was living for Christ. He was sharing his Lord and Savior. He was saving others. And they were showing it on national television! The truth is, Matt has had times when he wanted to go home. He's wanted to be done since he's been by himself almost the whole game. But he prayed that God would keep him there as long as he needed him there. And he's still there. He's still there teaching others through his words and actions. He's teaching his fellow contestants as well as the Survivor audience. And he's taught me a few things as well.
So I just want to say, "Go Matt! May God bless you in this game and all the others you play in your life. If you continue to play for HIM, you will win no matter what."