Secret Millionaire is a show on ABC that follows the journey of a millionaire who leaves the comforts of home to go to a impoverished area to see how they might help those in need. The show I saw involved a single millionaire mom who left the comforts of Bel Air to live in the highly homeless populated Long Beach. While there, she came across a young boy who fed the homeless sandwiches, someone who ran an organization to help children and horses, and a couple that helps families work through the grieving process of losing a loved one. Of course, the premise is that the secret millionaire in the end reveals who they are and then gives thousands of dollars to help these charities continue their work in helping those in their city.
As I watched this, two blaring thoughts came to my mind. First, the incredible joy, to the point of tears, of those who receive the generous donation by the secret millionaire. Often their excitement involves crying, shaking, screaming, and hugging. But why? The conclusion I came up with is that is has nothing to do with greed. It has everything to do with the commitment these people have to the organizations they head and the impact this money will have on the lives of others who are desperately in need. In other words, it is their passion that fuels their response.
This caused me to think, what am I passionate about? What are you passionate about? Are we passionate about what is truly worthy or about unworthy greed? As Christians, what is (and must be) most worthy to us is God and the gospel. We have been the unworthy recipients of something far greater than a donation of thousands of dollars–we have been given the gift of eternal life through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When we think about this act of charity, we should react with as much or even greater depth of emotion and joy, which we call worship. Worship is not just a mental acknowledgement of doctrinal truths, but it is the turning of the affections of our whole selves to God and His great benevolent love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). When is this last time our “religious affections” (to use Jonathan Edwards’ terms) matched the greatness of the gift of the gospel? When was the last time we were thrilled with God and God alone?
This leads to my second thought, now thinking about it in terms of the secret millionaire. Even the unsaved millionaire on the show realizes that life is not all about money, but about enjoying what you have in meaningful terms (like family) and receiving the joy in giving to others in need. If my first observation is true, that we should be so gripped by the gospel to be moved to deep worship of God, then that worship should express itself horizontally (missionally) as well. We are to be not-so-secret-“millionaires,” who because we have received something infinitely greater than money from God, must be willing to share that something, namely the gospel, to those around us who need to be saved from their sin and freely enjoy the greatness of God through Christ. And this, according to the New Testament, is not in word only (which the words of the gospel are vital and necessary), but also in deed. This is the expression, according to the book of 1 John, of true love. God didn’t just tell us He loved us, but proved it by giving to us His only Son to die so we would not have to, and to raise Him from the dead so we too could be raised to newness of life (Romans 6).
So how are we giving to others in response to the gift that has been given to us from grace? Are we trusting and living in grace in such a way that our worship is deeply expressed both to God and then in love toward others? Let us ponder these lessons from the “Secret Millionaire.”