The Games of LIfe

Some of the games in our home

My wife is rather frugal, for which I’m very grateful, except on my birthday. But one area where she can go crazy spending money is on games for the grandchildren. We already have a large collection of all kinds of games, but that’s not enough. There’s always a new game to buy and play. I’ve never been big on games, but I’m being converted! I have to admit that we have lots of fun playing games with our grandchildren.

It really doesn’t matter what the game is (okay, not Candy Land, Candy Land puts me to sleep). What does matter is that I’m playing the game with my grandchildren and grandma. What also matters is that the kids aren’t fighting over the game and that Grandma and I aren’t fighting over the game. While we shuffle the cards, roll the dice, or spin the dial Grandma and I are hoping the kids are having a good time, are learning lessons about fair play and how to both win and lose graciously, and are creating fond memories.

Eventually the game is over and goes back in the box. It’s good to keep the game in perspective, that it’s just a game and that what is important are the relationships with those with whom we play the game.

It occurred to me that God has us, His children, playing all sorts of games. He participates with us to the degree we let Him, and we play these games with others. There’s the game of our job or career, the game of unemployment and the game of retirement. There’s the game of being a parent, a mate, or being single. There’s the game of illness and the game of accident. There’s the game of extended family and the game of friends. Most of us are playing a number of these games at the same time.

Here’s what I’ve come to realize. It doesn’t matter so much to God what games we’re playing or if we’re doing better or worse than someone else. What matters most to God is that we’re enjoying being close to God while we’re playing the games of life, that we’re playing well with others, and that, winning or losing, we do so graciously.

Author John Ortberg wrote a book with the title, When the Game is Over, It all Goes Back in the Box. What doesn’t go back in the box are the relationships between the participants. Hopefully those relationships are closer and better after having played the game.

All that we accumulate, work at, and deal with in life eventually goes back in the box. In the end what we will have are the relationships, with God and God’s people. In the middle of playing the games of life it seems advisable to remember this!

“‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” (Jesus in conversation with Martha and Mary, Luke 10:41-42)

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