“RENOVATE MY FAMILY!"

Kent Heaton

            Reality shows are the norm for television today. People have become fascinated with the "real life drama" of other peoples lives and how they react to adverse situations. One of the genre's of reality shows are the makeover programs where families receive new homes, new looks and new everything. The criterion for families to be considered is based upon their needs, their sacrifice for others or some type of tragedy befalling them. No one can doubt the wonderful blessings many people have received from others as they have their homes remodeled, their appearance enhanced and new hope given to their lives. The attention given programs such as this is how needy people are given such wonderful gifts from others. It speaks well of many communities who are willing to go to such extremes to help their fellow man.

            However (and there is always a “however"), a point that is missing in these exercises of human benevolence is the true reality of life. While the remodeling, remaking and renewing of lives are wonderful for television, when the lights go off, the cameras stop humming and the crowds go home life remains in much the same manner it was before. The families are able to enjoy life more than before the makeover but the change has taken place largely only on the outside. Renovating a family takes more than a nice home, nice looks and nice clothes.

 
            Society portrays happiness as the attainment of material things. While tragedy and sorrow fall upon all of us, the true worth of reality is found in the renewal of the inward person. These are the changes that are worth living for. If you take a bum off the street and dress him in a $1,000 suit you have a bum in a $1000 suit. The application is that window dressing does not solve the more pressing needs of man. The character of a man or the inward self must be changed to find true fulfillment. King Solomon found all the things that men seek for today. He found wisdom (Ecclesiastes 1:12-18); pleasure and wealth (2:1-11) and pondered fame (1:1-11) but all was vanity. The word vanity is something that is of "no profit under the sun" (2:11).

            There is joy and excitement at a new bike but after time, it is neglected and forgotten. Why? Material things rust and break down in time and then soon laid aside. An interesting study for reality shows would be the follow up ten years (or more) later when the families have lived in their new homes and the question is examined as to how these things truly changed their lives.

 
            Life changes measured by material gain are fleeting. Changes made to the life of a person will last forever. The apostle Paul described the value of changing the inner person rather than focus on the outer person. "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Seeking those things that are above (Colossians 3:1,2) have true worth; seeking the things of this earth have no lasting value (2 Peter 3:10).


            Jesus did not come to change the economic, political or social status of man. He came to impress His life upon their hearts. From hearts filled with the will of Jesus Christ, changes will take place that are eternal. "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul" (Mark 8:36-37)? Renovation of the family can only take place when Christ is the center of the family, the central theme of our lives, valued above all earthly possessions and whose footsteps we carefully walk after each day. Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4:13-14: “'Whosoever drinks of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.’"