Last week I watched the “Jeopardy Greatest of All Time” special, and I wasn’t alone. Set between previous Jeopardy winners James Holzhauer (record for highest single-game winnings), Ken Jennings (longest winning streak), and Brad Rutter (most money won not only on Jeopardy but among all American game show winners), the series has been a ratings windfall. More viewers tuned in than did for the first four games of the 2019 NBA Finals and the first five games of the World Series.
Watching three trivia giants go at it alongside the composure shown by host Alex Trebek in his ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer makes for compelling TV. You keep coming back to the same question, though. How do these guys know so much stuff?
According to the subject, I can seem very knowledgeable. Seinfield trivia? Got it. 80s movies? Yep. Jacksonville State football since the early 90s? I like my chances.
That’s not all. For some reason random bits of information can get stuck in my brain. Unfortunately, I have trouble with retaining the useful bits such as my wife’s social security number when filling out forms or the names of my kids’ teachers.
In a “get to know the contestants” segment of the Jeopardy GOAT series last week, Jennings was asked about his ability to have so much information. He said he was naturally curious and just liked learning new things. It shows. As impressive as all three contestants are, Jennings can claim the series and $1 million prize if he wins his third match tonight.
Yes, we’re all capable of learning. Naturally, we navigate to our areas of interest whether it’s cars, sports, or politics. We study them not because we have to but because we want to. We see the value of knowing about them.
Recently my family has been more intentional about making time to read Scripture together. There are six of us, so right now we’re going through the Book of James, each of us taking two verses at a time. Then we spend a few minutes talking about the message presented. Right now we’re memorizing James 1:19 together. Maybe your family never experiences conflict, but it’s helping us to remember to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.”
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught about our interests, or treasures, and what they revealed about us (Matt. 6:19-21). We can make the mistake of putting too much into the things that will fade away and not enough into what is eternal. Where our treasure is, that is where our heart will be also. Where our main interests lie, our focus will go as well.
There’s nothing wrong with having interests in this world like cars, sports, and politics, but when they become our treasure, something is out of balance. The knowledge afforded in Scripture is teaching, correcting, and training (2 Tim. 3:16-17). It’s a guide for decision-making (Ps. 119:105). It has a way of cutting to the heart of a matter (Heb. 4:12).
It’s fun knowing stuff, but it’s eye-opening to know and understand the truths taught in Scripture. May we all commit to building an interest in something that goes much further than a game show.
Scott Barkley serves as editor of The Christian Index.