HOW WE PLAY THE GAME
By Terrell Perkins
(Reproduced with permission from The Sabbath Sentinel July-August 2011)
Did you ever sit down to play a game, like Monopoly, with other people and get so caught up in the game that you forgot about everything else? Did you, or any of the people you played with, take it just a little too seriously? How about this…did anyone you ever played with surprise you by revealing a side you hadn't seen before, like being greedy or perhaps cheating?
It’s easy to get caught up in such things for some people. The game becomes their reality. It becomes a reflection of their ego. They seem to forget that it’s not “real” life, that the stakes don’t really matter. What matters is how we play the game.
As a Christian, I have come to see life like that kind of game. I have come to believe that the ultimate reality is what we are being prepared for. I don’t mean to say that what goes on in this life is unimportant at all. I just mean that 25 million years from now the details of what happened in this life will be meaningless. Just think of our board game again. Chances are you may not remember any details of a particular game, but you may well remember if someone showed a greedy or cheating nature. This life is a kind of game, one that reveals our character. Some positions we land in are just luck of the draw or the throw of the dice. What we do once we're there is entirely a matter of our choice - a reflection of our character. It is the character that we develop here that will have lasting value in that ultimate reality.
It is a fact of our existence that our days on earth as mortals are numbered. We are all going to die some day. How one can really know that and still get worked up over how much stuff they’ve accumulated is beyond me. A popular bumper sticker declares that: “He who dies with the most toys wins!” Wins what? It is a well-known truth that we can’t “take it with us”!
What we do take with us is the kind of people we have become. We take our character with us. If we’ve lived as honorable people or liars and cheats, it will go in our “permanent files”! Whether we have lived as people of faith or people who believed in nothing, I believe it will matter.
I’ve heard some non-believers declare that Christians just “must not be that bright” for believing in something that’s little more than a fairy tale. None of it can be proven, they say. They’re right; I can’t “prove” what I believe is true. But, I’ve decided that even if what I believe turns out to be completely meaningless, I still think it is the very best kind of life! I will have lived a life of faith, a life believing in something bigger than myself. I will have spent my life trying to become a better person and to help others become better people. I will have spent my energies learning to love. That’s surely a better life than one without purpose. And what good is a life devoted only to oneself?
I choose faith in God. I see proof of Him every time I open my eyes! And, I pity those that don’t. I try to see the big picture of what is going on here on earth. I realize that I'm nobody and nothing in the grandness of the universe. But, I believe, the very Creator of the universe knows my name. I feel humbled and exalted at the same time because of that. The older I get the more I realize just how short this existence really is. An inner voice declares that it all means something more, that what’s going on here will have lasting value.
What I believe is that Jesus the Christ conquered death by His resurrection and God holds out the promise of eternal life to me through His sacrifice. That is the hope that I live with.
To live a life of faith and hope and love…what could have more value than that?