Friday, October 5, 2012

The Way

I thought I'd re-post this article again as it's been a while since I first wrote it, my kids are now five years older, and my competitive nature still gets the best of me from time to time...

This past year I’ve noticed some pretty cool things taking place in the lives of my kids. They are both kind of coming out of their toddler/tyke phase and entering into a new phase where they are engaging in some of the fun things that my wife and I enjoy.

My son for instance has an awesome sense of humor. He finds humor in all kinds of things, and he’s got a quick wit about him as well (some times to his detriment).

On a recent speaking engagement in New Hampshire I took him with me, and what a great time we had. At one point in the trip he was getting kind of whiny and cranky, so I started messing with him by saying things like “where’s your Barbie?” and “did you bring your skirt?” and other jabs that got him laughing. Then a little while later he asked me for a pen, and I said I didn’t have one so he said “why don’t you look in your purse?” I almost drove off the road I was laughing so hard. He got me good with that one.

My daughter is quick witted as well, but I think her most endearing feature is her sweet spirit. She takes after her mommy with that. She is very kind and sensitive, especially to spiritual things. She is always asking me questions about God, the Bible, different characters, and all kinds of spiritual things. It’s such a joy to have conversations with her about the things of the Lord at such a young age. We are truly blessed by that for sure.

About a year ago I was playing Monopoly with my kids, and my son’s quick wit was cranking on all cylinders, my daughter’s sweet spirit was in high gear and about 10 minutes into the game a character trait of mine that rears it’s ugly head from time to time came and joined us at the table as well…Mr. Competition pulled up a chair and took over the friendly game of Monopoly with my 5 and 7 year old.

It started when Serena pulled the “go to jail card”, I let out a hoot as if it was March madness! Ethan then lost a turn and it was on!

The more we played the more I bought railroads, properties, houses, hotels, I was richer than Donald Trump, and every time they landed on my stuff it was payday baby!

My wife walked in a couple times to see how we were doing, you know checking to make sure the kids were having fun. I was like “oh yeah we’re having a blast, I own pretty much everything, things couldn’t be better.” She gave me a look, and kept doing what she was doing, and I kept pouring it on.

I was having so much fun being a property mogul at the expense of my children who didn’t understand the whole concept of monopoly in the first place.

As I was about to land the final blow to my daughter as she landed on Park Place which, of course I owned, and of course had 3 hotels on it, she made a comment that stopped me in my tracks (not the 4 railroads that I already owned).
She said, “Daddy, how come you keep saying you’re winning? I’ve been counting, and I’ve been around the board more times than you have.” I said “what?” and she went on to explain to me her assumption (she didn’t use that word) of the rules of the game.

I was stunned! She was comparing the rules from her vast Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders and Sorry, experience to the rules of Monopoly. In essence she believed that whoever goes around the board the most times wins! UH, WRONG PHILOSOPHY!

I stopped my hostile takeover for a second and thought about a guy in scripture who thought his system would work in the system Jesus was talking about.

The rich Young Ruler in Luke 18 came to Jesus assuming he would “win the game” with Him because of what he had going for him.

He was Rich, so he had resources. He was young so he had potential. He was a ruler, so he had power. He was a good guy who was working from the assumption that says “If I’m good enough, I can get into Heaven.”

Jesus meets him head on though with the real rules to the game. He challenges his motive, his heart, and his priorities.

The real rules to the Jesus game are to love God and love others out of sheer worship and thankfulness for the free gift of salvation that comes through faith in Christ alone.

The Rich Young Ruler came close, but not close enough, because he was playing the game with faulty assumptions.

One thing that I love about Jesus in this encounter is that He tells the guy what the real deal is, he doesn’t candy coat it, he doesn’t say “Oh that’s ok you’ve been good so you’re in.” No He tells it like it is, and gives the guy an opportunity to change his operating system, but he decides to walk away, and keep playing the game by his own rules. How tragic!

Well, after my daughter made her comment, and I had my little flash back moment we continued to play Monopoly.

I cleaned her out of every dollar she had (my son was done a long time earlier, as he was more interested in sliding down the stairs on his head or something), and at the end of the game, I explained the real rules of Monopoly to my daughter.

My motives were terrible during the game, I was ruthless, competitive, and greedy knowing all along that my competitors didn’t fully understand the right way to play.

I am so glad that God doesn’t play that way! He has our best interest at heart, in fact He has gone out of His way to make sure we not only know about the way…


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