Faith

Fickle Hollywood vs. Steadfast Faith: Which Choice Will You Make?

Tinseltown may sparkle with glitz and glamour each year around Oscar time, but the wisdom worth pursuing is the word of God

Did you watch the Academy Awards this past Sunday night? Millions of people did (though viewership was way, way off from past years).

Nearly every news outlet in America on Monday was bubbling over with stories and accounts of the evening’s activities and awards. And what were the entertainment reporters raving about this year? Most of the same things they raved about last year: hundreds of A-list celebrities strutting down the red carpet, expensive displays of world-class fashion, and gold, lots and lots of gold, from gorgeous women draped in gold dresses to the Oscar statuette itself. Of course, all of this was accompanied by a stunning barrage of popping flash bulbs and incessant camera clicks.

As I sipped my coffee on Monday and looked at the photos from the awards show, I couldn’t help but think of that famous saying: “Not all that glitters is gold.”

That witty expression is not a summons for us to examine the carat value of our wedding bands or some other favorite piece of gold jewelry. No, that familiar phrase is a reminder that just because something has the appearance of greatness doesn’t make it so.

To this day I can remember my spunky earth science teacher in ninth grade and how she opened a box and wowed our class with a giant chunk of gold. With a precious nugget like that in her possession, why was this woman still spending her days in the public school system? Why wasn’t she sitting on a beach in Maui, sipping fresh-squeezed lemonade and enjoying the high life?

It wasn’t long before she brought us all back to Earth with the revelation that the rock she was holding wasn’t genuine gold. It was a chunk of pyrite — or, as the Old West prospectors used to call it, fool’s gold.

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I don’t watch the Academy Awards each year, but when I do make the time to tune in, I can’t help but relive that exact feeling I experienced in earth science class. The whole affair is nothing more than fool’s gold, only in prime time. Make no mistake, the show is about style, not substance. This is whining, not wisdom.

Look at how the most outspoken celebrities litter their acceptance speeches with political topics and social agendas. Without fail, each new show brings with it a topic for public consumption and a call to social action. In 2016, celebrities bemoaned the growing threat of climate change, and how we needed to save the world by banning big oil. In 2017, the A-listers were at it again, lecturing us about the bitter cruelty of President Donald Trump’s travel ban. This year, the biggest names in show business spent the evening discussing the evils of sexual harassment and lauding the courage of the #MeToo movement.

Related: 20 Everyday Americans Slam the Oscar Elites: ‘They Should Be Ashamed’

While many conservative commentators have written extensively about the blatant hypocrisy that exists in Hollywood — most notably the vast gap between Hollywood’s public speeches and Hollywood’s private behavior — my focus is on something else.

In these difficult times, when so many people are swallowed up by fear — or confused by the contradictory voices they hear shouting at one another on television — more opinion isn’t the answer. More socially conscious movies will not bring the lasting help we need. Neither will politically charged speeches delivered by millionaire actors with gold statues in their hands. We don’t need another call to the next round of social action.

We need to open our Bibles again and rediscover the trustworthy wisdom and timeless instruction that will lead to godly lives and blessed families.

What we need is a return to rock-solid truth. We need to open our Bibles again and rediscover the trustworthy wisdom and timeless instruction that will lead to godly lives and blessed families.

We need to have our hearts, consciences, and world views completely transformed — by God’s unchanging word. More than ever, we need to be reminded that “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever” (Isaiah 40:8).

Only by opening the sacred Scriptures can we lay hold of insights that are truly divine — and aren’t going to change a year from now. If we seek God’s truth and live by it, He promises our lives will resemble a lively tree planted next to a stream: firmly rooted, faithfully growing, exceptionally healthy.

Related: A Pastor Laments Our Steady Departure from God

But if we reject God’s insights, the Bible says, our lives will be a constant struggle, “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14). When the only two options are the opinions of humans or the wisdom of God — the choice is clear.

One year from now, Hollywood will be back for another Academy Awards show. Will you be watching? Despite all the smiles, the speeches, the overhyped social commentary, just remember: “Not all that glitters is gold.”

Pastor Ryan Day is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, where he has served for 18 years.

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