One Important Lesson from the Tiger King

One Important Lesson from the Tiger King

Posted on Posted in Personal Development

My wife’s friend said we should check out Tiger King on Netflix…so we did.

Disclaimer: It’s not suitable for kids, so don’t cue it up for your next Netflix party!





The show chronicles the downfall of a zoo owner in Oklahoma who goes by the name of Joe Exotic. It’s a true story, and it’s truly crazy. The end of every episode leaves you scratching your head and thinking, “What in the world?!”


Something was said in the final episode that caught my attention. Early on in the process, Joe brought a producer into the zoo to make a reality show. That producer made the comment that Joe started the zoo because of his love for animals.


But, over time, his focus shifted from the animals to himself. He lost his first love.


Not to come across like a super-spiritual guy (after all, I was watching Tiger King), but it made me think about the line in the book of Revelation. To the church in Ephesus, Jesus says, “I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!” (Revelation 2:4 NLT).



It’s sad, but it happens. Maybe it’s happening to you.


Now that the adrenaline of adapting your ministry for the current situation is wearing off, emotional and spiritual exhaustion is possible. Don’t think it isn’t.


To fight against it, be intentional. As you’re scrambling to put together the best experiences for your students each week, set aside time for God. Don’t leave God out of what you’re doing.

Don’t leave without downloading your FREE Spiritual Health Assessment

A lot of people are spending a lot of time watching TV. I shared this image on Instagram last week:


You have to be different than “most people” during this time. Prioritize the time you spend reading the Bible and praying. Cultivate your relationship with God. Choose a book that you’ve been wanting to read and explore a deeper topic.


Now is your chance to do these things. And, whatever else you might do, don’t be like Joe Exotic. Don’t lose your first love.

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Trevor Hamaker (DMin, McAfee School of Theology) is an author, adjunct professor, and youth ministry coach. He helps youth pastors see their potential, develop their skills, and reach their goals.

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