2006-03-21 - Playing Games
For the last few weeks, I've had the honor of coaching a group of preschoolers to play soccer. We had our first game this past week. There's an old saying that says, "It's not whether you win or lose but how you play the game". Of course, there's another saying that only losers think that way. I disagree - how you play is the most important thing. Whether it's a soccer game or the game of life, it's all about the "how" and what we play for determines how we play.
Children playing soccer can score lots of goals but if it's just for bragging rights it's all for naught. This week's goals will not matter at next week's game. When we play for points, it gets all serious and stressful. Instead, play for something more.
Grown-ups can work hard and make lots of money but, if it's just to one-up the neighbors, there's always going to be a neighbor who's able to one-up you. If we work for the next raise and the next promotion, it gets all stressful and we have heart attacks. If we live day by day looking for that one or two week vacation, it will soon come and go as well to be replaced by the next year's anticipated vacation to live for. Meanwhile, life passes by with each day and we get closer and closer to nothing. Instead, work and live for more.
That something more to play and live for is Jesus. The Bible tells us how to do stuff for Jesus.
Colossians 3:23-24 NIV - Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
When we do things for people, we have to be the best. We must be in first place, must win, and must get the corner office. blah, blah, blah. When we live for possessions, we have to have the latest, greatest, biggest, and best. It's enough to drive a person crazy. Is it any wonder so many of us get stressed and depressed, have breakdowns and heart attacks, give up and drop out. Who needs that competition? Why do we feel the need to live and play for anyone or anything?
But look at that verse again. When we do it for God, it's a little different. Whatever you do - do it with all your heart. Just give it your best.
I am a software developer by trade. I'm good at what I do but I don't think for a second that I am the best programmer in the world. I did not read the owner's manual that came with my son or the how to book on marriages so I'm not likely to be the world's greatest father or husband. And by no stretch of the imagination do I expect to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the best soccer coach ever to live. But it's okay because I am not doing it for people so I just have to be the best programmer, coach, husband, and dad that I can be. That takes a lot of pressure out of the way so I can just enjoy playing my life.
Think about it yourself. You can play for people or you can play for God. In soccer, we know there is one hour to play. In life, there is no set time limit so it's best to figure out as soon as possible.