By Tom Wacaster
Webster defines “jeopardy” as “exposure to or imminence of death, loss, or injury” (Merriam-Webster On Line). An alternate meaning is: “the danger that an accused person is subjected to when on trial for a criminal offense.”
The word was adopted as the title to a popular TV game show that debuted in 1984, and is still running more than three decades later. For just over thirty-three years contestants have been given the “answer” to which they were to respond with the correct “question.” For example, “This automobile was produced by Ford Motor Company in the late 1950’s but it never became very popular,” to which the contestant would respond, “What is the Edsel?” The contests get to choose from a selection of categories, with the dollar amount increasing in proportion to the difficulty of the question. Occasionally one of the categories is “The Bible,” or “Bible Characters,” or something to that effect. And, once in a while, a Bible “answer” is given to prompt the correct “question” from the contestant.
I have had occasion to watch a few episodes of this interesting and enlightening game show. Some years back I sat down for lunch and turned the TV to “Jeopardy” to pass the time while enjoying my lunch. I must confess that my ability to come up with the “question” to the “answers” that appeared on the game board was quite limited. But there was one “answer” that one would think everyone knew, and that each one of the College aged contestants would be quick to buzz in on. The “answer”: “Jesus said that in order for a man to enter into the kingdom of God he must do this.” Of course the “question” would be, “What is ‘born again’?” The shocker was that not a single one of those college aged contestants even attempted to buzz in. Oh they had answered questions on historical figures, biology, finances, and geography. They could tell you how to enter college, how to enter the free market, how to get into the circles of the social elite; but they could not tell you how to get into the kingdom of God.
Perhaps this little incident illustrates just how far the next generation has fallen from the spiritual plateau of their grand parents and great grand parents. With each passing decade, the Western world has moved ever further away from God and a knowledge of His word. But it seems incredible that they can no longer answer the basic question as to how a man enters into the kingdom of God. As in the days of Amos, there is a “famine” in our land, “not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11). Consequently, the moral climate of our nation has declined dramatically in direct proportion with the ignorance of God’s word.
Seeing that someday we will stand before God to give an account of what we have done in this life, it seems to this scribe that we would want to prepare ourselves toward that end. Since the words of Christ shall judge us in that last day (John 12:48), does it not seem reasonable that we would want to know that word so as to be better prepared to face our Lord in the judgment? Indeed it does. But somewhere along the way, we have neglected that awesome responsibility. With that in mind it is sobering to realize that an entire generation stands in jeopardy.