Executive editor, The Alabama Baptist
The one-inch long, plastic automobile holds up to six miniature pegs roughly shaped like people. It exists solely to move along the path marked out from high school graduation to retirement. What happens on the journey in between those two events depends on the result of each spin.
It’s The Game of LIFE, and I became an expert player over the Christmas holidays. My 10-year-old niece, Taylor, unwrapped the game Christmas morning and well before New Year’s, we had played the game several times.
She and her 8-year-old sister, Emily, both took to the game quickly and enjoyed the major life events they experienced as we all jockeyed to retire with the most money.
And while Taylor and Emily had to learn loans must be paid back with interest, day care costs money and houses are expensive, one of the two of them managed to win every game we played. Turns out, they are both pretty good at playing LIFE.
Maybe in some ways we all are good at “playing” life. We know how to check the right boxes and show up where we need to show up. We are programmed to move methodically from one phase to the next, participating in all the expected activities and throwing a little of ourselves in a lot of directions.
Even when the difficult and unexpected parts of life come our way, we eventually adjust and find our new point on the path.
But is there a chance we are missing some of the richness of life because of our robotic movements?
Sure, as believers in and followers of Christ, we would all say there is more to life than the hustle and bustle of the worldly routines. After all, there is Jesus, right? Life is all about Him because without Him there is no real life, only death.
At some point during Christmas, I am confident that Christian believers everywhere acknowledged Christ’s birth as the true meaning of the holiday. And in a few weeks, we will remember His death on the cross and celebrate His resurrection.
But what about the days in between these two holiday celebrations?
How does Jesus fit into our daily lives? Are we becoming more and more like Him each day or is He just one of the many categories in our lives into which we toss a little of ourselves?
Is Jesus truly the focus of our life’s journey or are we living for retirement and ourselves?
As I played The Game of LIFE with Taylor and Emily, I noticed how quickly we moved through the various seasons of our pretend lives to retirement and “game over.”
In all reality, the board game might not be far off the real thing. Some of us went to college; some didn’t. Some moved quickly into successful careers; some didn’t. Some bought lake houses and sail boats; some didn’t. Some gave generously to charities; some didn’t. Some had children; some didn’t.
Where I couldn’t compare real life with The Game of LIFE was in the area of faith. Or could I?
While the board game offers no reflection of the spiritual side of life, the decision is ours whether the game truly falls short. Life has a funny way of complicating the minutes, hours and days. One minute we are in college, the next we are turning 40. Before we know it, retirement is no longer the state of life in which our grandparents live. We are setting the date, downsizing for the final phase and asking where the time went.
When we are celebrating retirement one day, will a peek back over our shoulders show a reflection of Jesus Christ? Or will we just see ourselves?