Do you have a favorite game? Maybe you enjoy Monopoly, Scrabble, Mousetrap, or a card game? I found some interesting fun-facts online about a few of our most beloved games:
- If all Scrabble tiles ever produced were placed in a straight line, it could loop around the world twice.
- The creator of Risk was a French film maker who won an Oscar later the same year.
- The word Jenga means “built” in Swahili.
- In Monopoly, there is a 64% chance a player will land on one of the Railroads every time around the board. Also, a ten day long game of Monopoly was once held inside of an elevator.
- Yahtzee was originally called “The Yacht Game” because it was played by a Canadian couple aboard their yacht and was invented in 1954.
- The Hippos in the original Hungry Hungry Hippos game all had proper names: Lizzie, Henry, Homer, and Harry.
Games are fun. They entertain, bring us closer together as family, and teach important lessons about cooperation, teamwork, strategy, and life. Games also have the power to bring out the best and worst of who we are. Regardless of the game, I have found this to be true: No matter who wins or loses, at the end of the game, it all goes back into the box.
Our lives are like the games we play. If we were to take our life and open it up to reveal what is inside, our life’s box would be filled with a series of events, stories, and relationships: Some joyous and some a bit more challenging. We would find things like the birth of a child, a series of friendships, the beautiful marriage to a spouse, a lifetime of vocation, moving into a new home, getting your first pet, and years of service to the Lord. Let’s be honest, as we explore our life’s box we would also find a handful of painful memories too. Whatever fills our box, they all have the power to be used by God to shape who we are today. We are reminded by Paul: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28)
We all have them. Our lives are filled with them. Games. Whether we realize it or not, we play games: We act one way around God and another way around other people. If we were to crack open the box of our life, what would we find? In the Sermon on the Mount, one of Jesus’ finest teaching moments, He takes the lid off our life for us to take an honest look at the condition of our heart: “Out of the overflow of our heart, the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34) Someone once said, “The tongue is our heart’s microphone.” This summer we will work through a sermon series entitled, Games People Play, looking at three chapters in Matthew known as the Sermon on the Mount. These words cut us to the heart with God’s stethoscope of truth, forgiveness, and life.
How might we use our life’s box as a missional moment, as a way to invite others into our box with us? At heart, Jesus is calling us through the Sermon on the Mount to be His salt and light to the places in which God has placed us (Matthew 5:13-16). Through both the pain and joy, discipleship community encourages us to invite others to come alongside us in our journey of taking up the cross (Matthew 16:24-26). Just as we follow Christ, we invite others to come into the box with us: To share the brutally honest questions you have about faith and God, to share the excitement about the thrilling discovery concerning a Bible passage you have long-wrestled with, or to share the peace you have found in the Lord through the valley of a trying time. The game of life is messy business. Discipleship is even messier, because it means stepping into the muck with people. I believe this is why the Lord has built us as a community to and with one another for survival, encouragement, and mutual support as the Body of Christ (Luke 6:31; Acts 2:42-47; 1 Corinthians 12; Philippians 2:3-4). Thus, as you see a fellow brother or sister of Christ, encourage them, you never know the things going on in their life-box. Your words may be a life-giving salve in the midst of an open wound (Genesis 12:2).
No matter what is going on, never forget that Jesus is with you in your box! Through His life, death, and resurrection He is as at work to bust open and unpack our life’s box, one game at a time. God makes all things beautiful in His time (Isaiah 1:18; 53:6-7).
Unpacking life’s box in Jesus,