By Lance Cordle
Alex Trebek is a TV “icon,” “legend,” “stalwart”—you choose the description. For thirty-five years he has hosted the gameshow, Jeopardy. Jeopardy is that game that tests a person’s general knowledge of facts and world events, as well as how big a risk they would take on that knowledge. The unique format also forces that person to word their answer in the form of a question (i.e. “What is . . .). Alex Trebek is the man that informs the on-set contestants as to whether they have answered correctly. His name is synonymous with the show and encyclopedic knowledge.
By the way, who among us has not sat down and watched a Jeopardy episode and shouted out the question-answer just to have the satisfaction of knowing how much we know? Or being humbled as to how much we don’t know?
Last year, Alex announced to the world that he had stage-4 pancreatic cancer and that he would immediately begin to undergo chemotherapy to treat the disease. He has been in “remission,” as well as in need of more treatment. He recently gave an interview on the ABC network, in which he thanked people all over the world for their outpouring of appreciation for him. He also revealed that he did not yet know when he would retire from Jeopardy, or who would be his replacement.
When elaborating on his inevitable exit from Jeopardy, Alex said that he had already spoken to his producers and had assured them of the amount of time he needed to say goodbye. I was quite astounded by his simple request. After thirty-five years and worldwide fame, all he anticipated needing and using to bid farewell was thirty seconds!
His simple plan and expectation should humble us all. Because, when it comes down to it, most of us have quite a pretty high view of our importance. Life teaches us (sometimes harshly) that there really is no indispensable man or woman.
I am reminded of the sobering message of Psalm 8:3, 4: “When I think of the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you visit him?” You might think of it in Jeopardy form: Answer: “The subject of the Psalmist’s wonder and amazement of God’s care in Psalm 8:3, 4.” Question: “What is man?”
- Lance Cordle preaches the Calvert City Church of Christ in Calvert City, KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com