Life Lessons from the Old Time Shows
Nancy and I are at an age where our evenings are usually spent relaxing in our easy chairs, eating supper, and watching old TV shows. While Gunsmoke, Raw Hide, and Wagon Train are my favorites, Andy Griffith and The Real McCoy’s are more to Nancy’s enjoyment. Compared to the more modern shows, these shows are very mild, controlling their language and actions in the stories. They are good family entertainment.
Those older shows usually included moral values in the story. Sure, Grandpa Amos produced silly ideas, and Barney Fife was never the “eagle-eyed Barney” he claimed to be. But within a half-hour, they learned their lesson and any serious observer would learn the same lesson from having watched. And while there are obvious objections to portions of the old westerns, they usually have a valued lesson to learn as well.
Before television, reading was the basic form of entertainment in the home. McGuffey Readers were not merely the English grammar and literature books of the day, their stories held valued morals, and often included scripture references. Grimm and Aesop’s Fables, Robinson Crusoe, Tom Sawyer, and Huckleberry Finn, Zane Gray books, and hundreds of others not only captivated the child’s interests, but they also led them in morally correct thinking, making them realize the gain in righteous actions and the ruin promised for wickedness. Today’s entertainment choices do little to foster such mental recognition of life’s most valued lessons.
We all recognize the changes since those days, but not all of us appreciate the changes! You see, in those older shows, and older books, God’s Word was revered, respected, and read! No, they did not always quote it correctly, or the “churches” represented were not what we know as the Lord’s church, but the moral factor teaching respect, reverence, and honor toward God and godly things was evidenced! Today? Not so much. Cursing, adultery, social to extreme alcohol use, immodesty, theft, murder, lying, are abundant in most of today’s “comedy,” news, dramas, and even sports shows. How often do we hear folks asking, “What happened to good television, and good books?” Answer: a sinful society pleading for such filth depleted from the wholesomeness of yesterday!
This is the reason we plead constantly for folks to READ GOD’S WORD. The adventures, mysteries, funny stories, love stories, sports, truthful guidance, factual answers to hard and searching questions, mentally stimulating, faith-building, abilities of God’s word are innumerable. It is the best material for the mind/soul (Matthew 4:4).
Solomon said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (Proverbs 29:18) The word “vision” in this passage means “divine knowledge,” thus, “Where there is no revealed knowledge of God, the people perish.” God’s word has graciously been revealed to us! Hebrews 1:1-2 relates how this was done and by combining this with the truth of 2 Peter 2:21; John 6:33; 14:10; et al, we learn God spoke and we must hear! Therefore, we DO have the revelation of God’s word in our hands and need to read it, study it, learn it, and obey it!
Humankind is influenced by the things he sees and hears. While we can appreciate the “family-oriented” shows that make us laugh, or the shows that cause us to think, and the ones that teach good morals, the fact is we cannot know the GREATEST things of life and its blessings without knowing God! The only way we can accumulate that knowledge is by obtaining the truest of all information, placing it in our hearts, and letting it dwell richly within us. Paul said this is the word of Christ (Colossians 3:16) which is the word of God (Hebrews 1:2). The Hebrew writer warns of the eternal danger imposed upon the unbeliever should he/she neglect this information and let it slip from his/her soul (Hebrews 2:1-4). So, if you are going to watch TV, watch the better shows that at least teach God’s truth of life. Better yet, shut off the television and read the truest source of life’s information (2 Peter 1:3)!