Watching this year’s Academy Awards was a first for me . . . well, sort of. For the past 8 years I’ve missed the Television event watched by several hundred million (not a billion) people all over the world. The reason for this is that the church I attend meets on Sunday nights, and well, I kinda have a standing commitment to be there, seeing as how I am the pastor. But Sunday night’s “weather event” here in Little Rock changed all that, and I was forced to cancel our gathering for only the second time in 81/2 years (the other due to a tornado). I don’t like to cancel. And I don’t like to miss.
And so, just before leaving to make the long journey from the building we rent on Sundays to my home 6 blocks away, my wife and I decided to invite a few close friends over for an impromptu dinner and Oscar-watching party. I was so impressed with the overall dignity of the event, with poised and prepared acceptance speeches made by well-deserving recipients. For some of the winners, the award came as somewhat of a surprise. Of course, if you’re nominated, you already know you have a chance to win. But still, if you’re a relative newcomer to the big screen, you typically don’t expect to walk away with the 13.5 inch, 8 ½ pound statuette of a knight holding a crusader’s sword atop a reel of film.
Some films and actors are recurring nominees, while others burst on the scene out of nowhere, and writing their own version of the Cinderella Story. Good for them. To be recognized as the best in your field, even if only for a brief moment, has to be one of the most satisfying experiences in life.
Some actors have to wait and receive that “Lifetime Achievement Award” while others are honored “In Memoriam”, given a posthumous recognition. But we all long for validation and confirmation of knowing that our lives and contribution to the world have had some real meaning. For actors, you can’t receive any higher honor than an Academy Award. Congratulations to all those who make it look so easy, and whose performances truly inspire, challenge and change people’s lives.
As followers of Jesus, that moment for us comes at another awards ceremony, one the Bible says will occur when we meet the Lord at death or rapture (2 Cor. 5:10-12; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). Earthly accolades given by people are affirming and meaningful, and God certainly gives us His approval along the way. But nothing will compare to the Day when Jesus Christ Himself hands out the “imperishable wreaths” (1 Cor 9:25) to those who have brought Him fame during their brief stay on the earth. It will be the one ceremony where the Presenter outshines the award itself.
Don’t ever stumble into the lie that your life is a failure just because people aren’t telling how great you are or how much they appreciate you. Just keep being faithful, moving forward with the confidence that nothing you do for Him will ever be in vain (1 Cor. 15:58).
I have a feeling that one day you’ll be glad you did.