My daughter and I happened to catch the premier of the new CBS summer reality show The Briefcase. If you haven’t seen it yet, here is the premise:
One couple is given a briefcase with $100,000 in it. They have 72 hours to decide if they will keep it all, keep some of it and share the rest, or give it all away to another family. One spouse gets to make the first decision. Then they find out something about the other family, and the other spouse makes the next decision. Finally, they travel to where this other couple lives and get a glimpse into their lives. Over the course of three days, the couple determines what they should do with the money. But like all reality tv, here’s the twist: the other family has also received $100,000 and must make the same decision. Neither couple is aware of the other one or that their life is under a microscope.
My daughter and I watched for an hour as the two couples battled back and forth over what to do with the money. In both families, one spouse was more generous while the other spouse wanted to look out for their own family. Here they had been given enough money to get out of debt, and they knew nothing of this other family. However, after they stepped into the other family’s shoes, both couples made radical decisions — they decided to give the entire $100,000 to the other family.
As we watched this, Clara and I talked about what we would do and what we thought the couples would choose to do...and we sat there awestruck when we watched what they finally decided.
Here’s the thing, though: it took them awhile to stop looking out for their own interests. It was only after bits and pieces of the other family’s life revealed hardships that each couple began to loosen the grip on their briefcase. Only after they deemed the other family worthy were they willing to give so generously.
But here we have a God, a Father who loves us so much and felt us worthy of His One and Only Son, who didn’t require anything of us first. I, an undeserving sinner, did nothing to earn his love or this gift that was freely given.
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32
So if you happen to catch an episode sometime this summer, take the time to ask your family some of these questions:
- What would you do if you were given $100,000?
- How do you decide if someone is worthy of something (money, forgiveness, affection, etc.)?
- In what ways do you put others’ needs before your own?
- How does the generosity in this show remind you of God’s love for us?
- If you could help one person in the world, who would it be?
- What can our family could do to help someone else?
Finally, here are some verses your family can read together:
Greed — Ecclesiastes 5:10-11; Matthew 6:19-21
Giving — Acts 20:35; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, Philippians 2:3-4
Contentment — Philippians 4:12; 1 Timothy 6:6-8; Hebrews 13:5