I don’t think I’m a skeptic by nature but every time I hear about a new reality show the hair on the back of my neck stands at attention and my inner Grinch comes alive. It happened again just the other day when I heard about the new show Secret Millionaire.
The whole premise is simple enough. A millionaire goes stealth and lives for a week among the impoverished. After sufficient time visiting the down and out they surprise everyone with their wealth and pass out money.
Boy, was I wrong!
Dani Johnson was the millionaire and her personal story is quite amazing. Having endured every imaginable abuse growing up in a house riddled with drugs and alcohol she was homeless at age 21. By age 23 she as a millionaire having sold a weight loss product out of the trunk of her car.
Dani and her husband turned down ABC’s request to be on the show 4 times before actually agreeing to appear. Why? They are Christians who give away more than they keep but have always done so privately, anonymously. Long story short, they believed that God was telling them to use this opportunity for His glory.
Dani spent her week volunteering with three non-profit groups. One was a music education program for underprivileged kids. One was a group that redecorated bedrooms of seriously ill children. And the other was a meal kitchen that serves over 2000 people weekly.
I’ll admit that I got a bit choked up when Dani presented a generous monetary gift to each of the three agencies as well as one family with a seriously ill child. But the moment that jumped out at me was when one of the little old gals in the meal kitchen said:
She’s put a spark in my heart that I can do more.
What Susan and I took away from the show was the simple truth that all of us can do more. We might not be able to write large checks like Dani did; but as Dani herself said in the final moments even a smile, a hug or a word of encouragement can lift someone up.
That’s exactly what Jesus meant by “Love your neighbor as yourself.” How will we do that this week?