Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"Little House" Truth

What do the television shows The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, and Happy Days have in common? There are several common factors. First, they were all successful, highly rated shows in the late 1970’s. Secondly, they were all about a simpler time in our history.

I believe people flocked to these type shows as well as reruns of The Andy Griffith Show, Green Acres, and The Beverly Hillbillies, at this time, to help with some of the feelings of hopelessness. We were just bringing a war to a close that had grown very unpopular, gasoline seemed to be in short supply, the economy was in shambles, so people turned to wholesome television to remind them of a time when things weren’t so bad. (Sound familiar?)

Anyway, if you ask my wife what her all time favorite television show is, she will no doubt reply, “Little House on the Prairie”. She’s in good company. The show ran from 1974 to 1983 and was nominated for 3 Golden Globes, won 15 other awards, and was nominated for 34 more. The show was adored by so many people, for so long, that many of us watched Mary, Laura and Carrie grow up in our living rooms. (Click here to see the opeing credits and hear the theme song!

I was flipping channels a while back, and I came across an episode of Little House on the Prairie. In this episode, the circus came to town. Everyone in Walnut Grove is excited, but Nels Oleson, the local store owner, is shocked to spot his estranged older sister as the "fat lady." Hurt and disappointed by her brother's rejection, Annabelle draws comfort from her close-knit circus family and continues to approach her job with dignity. Nels is terrified to let anyone know his relation to her, even after observing her unwavering kindness to everyone in the community (namely the children at the blind school). After maintaining such secrecy for so long, Nels recognizes his foolishness and publicly expresses his feelings for his beloved sister.

One of the final scenes in the episode, Nels goes to her and tells her that he is sorry and offers to let her stay in Walnut Grove. Her response to him is one we all could learn from. She says, “I was put here for a purpose. Maybe not an exalted purpose, but a purpose. I make people laugh. I make them feel good. That’s not such a bad thing.”

You never know where you will find theological truth. Even a television show can offer up some very deep truths from God’s word. You may not feel that you were put here for an exalted purpose, but you were put on this earth, where you are right now, for a purpose. You may think you have the lowest, most demeaning job on the planet, but if you do it the best you can, with all your heart, then you are a success.

We make the mistake of buying into the garbage they feed us from Madison Avenue about how we should look, what car we should drive, what clothes to wear, and what kind of houses we should live in. We think we are not of worth if we don’t fit that mold. However, we should see the value that we are to God and let Him use us for His purpose. If we find His purpose for our lives, then whatever we are, or do, will be exalted in God’s Kingdom.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.
(Proverbs 19:21)

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