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In March 2016 a British television network (Channel 4) began filming a reality TV show entitled, Eden. The purpose of the program was to see how a group of 23 volunteers would fair if left in an isolated location and deprived of all modern conveniences for one year. Could the group work as a team and, from scratch, build the rudiments of civilization?

The site chosen for the experiment was a former military reservation in a remote part of Scotland, consisting of forest, marsh, coastline, and sand dunes. The group was allowed some very basic building supplies (for shelter), livestock (for dairy, eggs, and meat), and seed (for growing their own crops). The land, however, proved unsuitable for cultivation. The group was also given rations to sustain them until they were able to produce their own supplies.

The participants would do the filming themselves, with four of the group using Go-Pro cameras to record activities. Several other prepositioned and remotely controlled cameras would record as well. But throughout the year, there would be no outside interference. Only periodic visits from the outside TV crew would visit the site to check on the group’s progress.

The producers (KEO Films) hoped the group would thrive and build a self-sufficient community with all members living in harmony. Sadly, however, all but ten of the volunteers either left of their own volition or were “voted out.”  Those who chose to leave the site complained of constant hunger, bullying, favoritism, and interpersonal conflicts. The two who were voted out and forced to leave represented the oldest members of the team, one a carpenter and the other a rowing coach and adventurer.

The experiment proved quite an ordeal, especially during the winter months – which was the final phase of the long stretch. The conclusion couldn’t come soon enough for the group of ten survivors. However, when they returned to civilization some very disturbing news greeted them. The show, which they thought millions would be watching, was canceled after only four episodes. Soon after its premier, audiences lost interest in the program and viewership dropped to less than a million. Yet, the station opted to keep filming in hopes of using parts of the show at a later date. Unfortunately, for the participants, the station never notified them. So, through all those long months, as the remaining participants envisioned millions of adoring fans cheering them on in their battle for survival, not a soul was watching.

The circumstances of this “reality TV” show give us a picture of how anonymity can be a welcome relief to some and a profound disappointment to others. To those who were bullied, dismissed, or failed to win the “popularity contest,” finding out that no one was watching was a huge relief. No one saw them when they were at their worst – quitting, complaining, or being humiliated. But to those triumphant “survivors” on the show, who envisioned the applause of millions of viewers, there was disappointment and dejection.

It’s like author Olin Miller’s comment about anonymity. You wouldn’t worry about what people may think of you if you could know how seldom they do.”  It would be a relief to most. But for those who view themselves as the center of the universe, it would shatter their world.

Perhaps a better and more applicable lesson to be learned from this cautionary tale is that we should always perform for the right audience. Forget about the people – who could be paying attention – or ignoring your labor, efforts, and sacrifices. Focus instead upon Jesus, who never misses anything we do.

Nothing can ever escape Jesus’s notice. Jesus Christ keeps track of every atom and every subatomic particle in this vast universe which stretches 93 billion light years from end to end. He is not the least bit challenged by this mind-boggling task. Nor is Jesus the least bit distracted from you. His infinite mind can focus more attention on you than you could ever handle. All your activities, all your prayers, and all your sacrifices on behalf of Him and His children do not escape His scrutiny.

And Jesus appreciates and cherishes everything you do. So, do all that you do to please Jesus, not people! Whether it seems as though no one’s looking or everyone’s looking, perform for Jesus Christ alone. Envision Jesus as seeing you, cheering you on, cherishing all the sacrifices you make on His behalf. If you perform for Jesus alone, you’ll never be disappointed. You’ll never have a more adoring audience than Jesus Christ.

“So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).


PRAYER:  Dear Lord Jesus, please purify my motives and help me to keep my eyes on You in everything I do. Whether my tasks are magnificent or menial, sacred or secular, obvious or obscure, help me to perform them only to please You. For nothing I do escapes Your notice and no one appreciates my service as You do. Amen.


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