George Bowers: The Oscars of heaven

George Bowers Sr.

On Sunday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present the 87th annual Academy Awards, more commonly known as the Oscars. The best actors, films, musicians, and even hair stylists in 24 different categories will be recognized and awarded at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. These are the most coveted awards in the entertainment industry and since entertainment dominates our society, this occasion takes center stage in our culture. Talk show hosts and news broadcasters have been hyping this event for several weeks now and drooling over the nominees.

Indeed, it would be a high honor to be nominated for one of these awards much less to receive one. Unfortunately, many of the trophies in recent years have commended movies and storylines that have dishonored God. Whenever themes or actions that contradict God’s expressed will are celebrated, his heart hurts and his kingdom suffers. Jesus is dishonored and his way is often mocked. Regrettably, because our society is so obsessed with Hollywood instead of Christ’s holy wood, the examples it sets are followed by many.

How different the awards presentation of heaven will one day be. Paul refers to that coming celebration in his letters to the Corinthian church. That church, much like today’s, constantly battled encroaching worldly values and through Paul’s writings, God helps us to see through the temporary to the eternal, and past the evil to the holy.

Instead of recognizing the best actors who merely play roles written for them to follow, God will hand out his honors to those who lived out their faith in real life. The categories will be much different than those of the Oscars as well, and the beatitudes of Matthew 5 give us a glimpse of what qualities he will recognize. Some of heaven’s classifications might include most merciful, purest heart, most neek, nost peacemaking, brightest light, and supremely salty.

Unlike the famous, gorgeous, and much worshipped Hollywood entertainers, I suspect that the recipients of heaven’s awards will go to people most of us have never heard of: humble men and women living out their faith unheralded in some obscure village or town. A relatively unattractive wife faithfully serving her ailing husband in rural Texas. Some homely man giving food to orphans that show up at his back door in Haiti. A teenager suffering in some Chinese prison because she stood up for Jesus. An invalid grandmother fervently praying for her family as she lays in a nursing home in Argentina.

From God’s selection of David for Israel’s king, we learn that God looks not on our outward appearances, but on our hearts. He values themes and actions that the world often views as foolish, worthless, and even disgusting and thankfully, he will have the last say. One day, all of Hollywood’s Oscars will melt down in the fervent heat that will destroy all earthly idols, including our own. But attitudes and actions of faith and love done by Christians will endure the fire and be richly rewarded according to I Corinthians 3.

May the approaching Oscars be a subtle motivation that turns our eyes from golden statues toward the more enduring and valuable rewards of heaven. May we not be caught up in the passing fads and fancies of this world, but look past the things we can see to those that only faith can envision. May we strive for heaven’s recognition much more than for any earthly admiration.

Blessings, George

George Bowers Sr. is the pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of four books, including his latest book of poetry, “Wit and Wisdom of the Woods.” He can be reached at

George Bowers Sr. is the pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of four books, including his latest book of poetry, “Wit and Wisdom of the Woods.” He can be reached at