You know how football fans get when it’s Super Bowl Sunday? There’s this almost palpable energy that flows between them; something comparable to being in a room full of children on Christmas Eve. Well, that’s how I feel every year on Oscar Sunday. Yes, the Academy Awards took place four days ago and I’m still talking about it, still reading internet articles, and looking at red carpet photos. Call it one of my guilty pleasures - I just love the Oscars!
And the funny thing is that I don’t go to the movies very often at all. I don’t watch them much on TV either. I would estimate that I might watch a total of six to eight movies per year - that includes a couple of trips to a theater and maybe four or five on TV. And yet, I love the Oscars.
The truth is I’m a pretty big fan of all of the major entertainment awards shows. I think it is because I get a vicarious thrill out of seeing people dress up and go out to celebrate their art and to give props to those who do it best. I like it that it is equally possible for someone who has acted in one movie (Lupita Nyong’o) and someone with a 43-year career and 18 Oscar nominations under her belt (Meryl Streep) to share the same spotlight. I like it that make-up artists, sound editors, and others who work behind the scenes, whose names only industry insiders know, finally get their opportunity to bask in world-wide recognition of their work. I love it that an 84-year-old (June Squibb) who I had never heard of got nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
I think, for me, all of this symbolizes possibilities - the possibility of a natural gift yielding success and excellence in spite of inexperience; the possibility of decades of work and commitment to one’s craft finally yielding the accomplishment of one’s dream; the possibility of a relatively thankless job done behind the scenes earning a technician the accolade of a lifetime. Possibilities.
Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” It’s all well and good to love our work; to find joy and fulfillment in the doing. But most of us, in our deepest heart, appreciate being recognized for it as well. We appreciate discernible, if not measurable, positive results of our labor. We want to reap our harvests. The Academy Awards remind me that sometimes that gratification comes fairly quickly, and sometimes it takes years, even decades to reach that pinnacle experience. But when it happens, it is always good. It always seems to be worth every minute of work and every prior disappointment that it took to get there. In fact, it seems that the harder they worked, and the longer it took to get there, the sweeter the moment is.
I think that applies to our service of God, as well. We may not get constant recognition or accolades. We may not even see our harvest, much less reap it, a lot of the time. But we should not let that deter us from remaining faithful. There is no such thing as a wasted effort expended for God. God ensures that. God blesses our efforts. So, in the words of the Apostle Paul, “Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
We may not get Oscars, or anything of that ilk, but that “Well done, good and faithful servant,” will definitely make it all worth it.