What a strange game this life is. When you think of a “game”, certain concepts would naturally seem included.
For example, isn’t the object of a game usually to win? This suggests competition, and a desire to be number one. While some may live their lives like that, they are in for a lot of grief and strife. And at the end of their life, they will discover that there can only be ONE number one, and they are not the One! It shouldn’t be this way for Christians though. We are commanded to put God first, striving only to please Him. On the next priority level in a Christian’s life is… others! We are to esteem others better than ourselves. This is the living proof that we are being re-created in the image of our Lord Jesus. Christ said that the love we have for others would be the identification tag of His followers. We’re not in a competition against others. We are in a race toward the prize of fulfilling the calling God has for each of us.
I saw the most wonderful commercial on TV that still draws tender tears from me as I think about it now. The setting was a stadium (about the size of a suburban high school’s track stadium). You saw a young man running in a race. Flash to what was obviously his proud parents in the crowd. He was leading the pack. Suddenly, he stumbled and fell to the ground. As you saw the concerned parents, the boy did not get up immediately. When the other runners came up to him, they all stopped. Then you were able to see that they were “special needs kids” (i.e. Downs Syndrome). They gathered around the fallen runner and helped him to his feet. Then, arms around each other, all of the runners crossed the finish line together. The words on the screen were something like: “A True Victory!” Wow! Isn’t that beautiful?
Everyone should live their lives that way, but especially Christians!
Games have set rules. If you cheat, you are penalized, disqualified, and lose. This life has conflicting rules. The world is so diverse, filled with people who devise their own moralities. We live in a world where its becoming unacceptable to say someone is not playing by the rules. The world worships the Individual’s right to make up their own rules; and don’t dare challenge someone about their choices.
Religion takes the rules God has established and adds their own agendas. It’s a powerful weapon in the hands of people who desire to control others. One group says you have to act or even dress a certain way. Another group may have a different interpretation of the very same Scripture. What makes these standards so dangerous is that each group presents it as “God’s laws”. Judaizers!
A lawyer asked Jesus which was the “first” (primary, most important) commandment of God. Why would he ask that specifically? Maybe because he knew that he was unable to keep the hundreds of “God’s laws” their faith required. But, if he knew what was the most important commandment to God, he could make certain he didn’t break that one. The Lord told the lawyer (and us) to love God with all that you have and all of your being, and love everyone else as you love yourself. Jesus said that was all of the sum of the law. If you obeyed those two rules, then you are obedient to God.
Of course, the two and greatest commandment (no, that’s not a typo!) are really one, and entirely too rich and deep in meaning to address in a short article like this. Let’s really encapsulate: Love. So the rules to this “game of life”, as set by the game designer are simple: LOVE. Simple, right?
Or is it?