Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Game of Life

I have grandkids now that give me a great excuse to play board games again.

Have you looked at the Game of Life lately?

I'm talking about the board game. It's been updated and for a game that originally came out in 1860, its popularity is pretty amazing. You get married, have kids, get a job and hopefully end up in "Millionaire Acres".
Kind of like what most people think of the real game of life. In any game, there are rules (these tell us how to play) and an objective (how we win). In the Milton Bradley version you take turns, do what the card tells you to do and ultimately end up at the destination.

In the real game of life, the Creator has told us what the rules are. Jesus summarized them as just two: Love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself.

Just two rules! Two rules that are pretty simple to remember but not so simple to follow.
However, the objective is not 'Millionaire Acres' but eternal life with our heavenly father. The key to this objective and the entire principle of the game of life however is not the destination but how we play.

By loving God first, with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, we find and serve in the many opportunities to love our neighbor. The Bible says very clearly that the destination has already been provided in Christ. It's by accepting His love for us that was demonstrated by His sacrifice on Calvary, we enter into eternal life.

Now that’s a game that is worth playing!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Content or Complacent?

The conversation this morning at our men's group was about the headlines of today's newspapers that highlighted Economic Woes, Debt Crisis in Europe, US Debt Crisis. I made a passing comment that I refuse to worry about these global issues. Not worrying is just the beginning, I practice the art of being content. I love my job and my church, my wife and I have a great relationship. These are just a few of the reasons for my contentment.

Later, I was challenged that perhaps I am too complacent. I was challenged that maybe I should be discontent with the status quo and become a part of the solution, both politically as well as socially. I certainly see some value in being a part of the solution. However, the pastor in me had to state that the scriptures clearly say that as believers, we are to be content. Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, "it is better to be content with what little you have. Otherwise, you will always be struggling for more, and that is like chasing the wind." Also the Apostle Paul said to the Philippians that he "learned the secret of being content when he had much as well as when he had very little."

Still, I wondered about this idea of being too complacent.

I think the key difference between the two adjectives, content and complacent is the God factor.
Let's look at the definitions of the two words. To be content is to be satisfied with what is or has; not wanting or striving more for anything else. To be complacent is to be pleased, especially with oneself or one's merits, often without awareness of some potential danger or defect. (reference:

To know God is to know we mortals are defective, we are broken. We have a sin nature and constantly struggle with self. We also know that it is not our merits that matter, it is all about God. Particularly, it is the completed work of Christ that sets us free and gives us contentment. When we understand, embrace and model this attitude we reflect Godliness.

It is the God factor that gives us Godliness.

And we know that Godliness with contentment is great gain (2 Timothy 6:6)

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