Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3595

Jump Start # 3595

Matthew 16:26 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

  Over Memorial Day weekend, we had our daughter and her family visiting for a few days. She and her husband have three daughters. The oldest two, nine and seven, are busy. They swim in our popup pool, ride scooters, walk in the woods, go to the playground, and play zoo with all the stuffed animals. And, of course, I’m always right in the middle of those activities with them. We got the games out. I somehow come in last in Uno and Pass the Pigs every time. I introduced them to an old game called, “LIFE.” My daughter and son-in-law had never played this game. The game I have was the actual one I grew up with. It’s old. It looks old. It dated from the 60s and when we were cleaning out dad’s house, I took it. You’d think this was the best game ever. They laughed and played and played that game. It had been so long for me that we had to look at the instructions on the inside of the box lid to know what to do.

  But what a fitting name for that game, LIFE. Choices. Go to college or go the trade route? Buy insurance or skip it? Play the stock market and take a gamble or be conservative and safe? Choices, choices, choices. The right spin on the spinner can bring great rewards. The wrong spin will cost you.

  And, what is true in the game of LIFE, is true in real life. Life is made up of many choices. Consider:

  First, it is hard for an eighteen-year-old to know what he wants to be after high school. Some do. Most don’t. So, they dabble in this college major and then switch to another one. This is why talking to others, and listening to  the experience of parents can help make the right choices.

  Second, there are choices that can color our lives for a long, long time. Some choice become habits. And, some of those habits not only have serious consequences that follow them, they can be very hard to get out of. Surrounding yourself with people who are going the same direction you are is so helpful and beneficial. Believing one thing and being influenced in the opposite direction is going to cause an internal battle within your mind.

   Third, the ultimate goal of the game LIFE is to end up in the Millionaire’s estate and not the poor house. Very similar to the game Monopoly, the one with the most wins. The materialistic drive behind these games is that more money means more happiness. It is thought by so many that winning in life or LIFE, is based upon how much you have. And, it seems many are playing this game in real life. Jesus warned what does it profit if a man gains the whole world and forfeits his soul. In the game LIFE, there is a church building. Everyone must stop there and get married. It’s the only time in the game LIFE that one goes to church. And, like that game, so it is for many today. Go when you are hatched, matched and dispatched, is an ole’ saying.

  So, in the game LIFE, the choices are money driven. What will get me the most money? The game and our times see little value in being anything but rich. But there isn’t a price tag one can put on faith, peace, joy and walking with the Lord. There isn’t a price one can put on family times, smiles, laughter and good, clean fun. The thirst for getting rich can make one selfish and close his eyes to the needs around him. What if the good Samaritan walked by the injured man, thinking, “I don’t want to spend my money on a stranger. It’s not my problem.” But he didn’t. He had the heart of generosity and serving.

 It is important to help our young people see that life is more than what you can hold in your hand or order from Amazon. Being content is a lesson that parents need to and ought to show their children. They won’t learn this from school. They won’t learn it from their friends. And, if it doesn’t come from you, where will they ever learn it?

  Unlike the game LIFE, in real life one can adjust and change their choices. Those of us that walk with the Lord, have. We made changes. And, all along the way, as we grow, learn and get closer to the Lord, we modify our attitudes and make better choices. And, what we find is that winning life is not about how much money one has, but our love for the Lord and our choice to walk in righteousness.

  I’ve known many believers who our culture would consider poor. But they found something that our culture just can’t find. They found joy, peace, contentment and hope. They found those things in Jesus. Some of the best people I’ve known have been just plain ordinary Christians who were the backbone of congregations. Their faith served them well. They brought up families that became godly servants. They lived, loved and showed others the kindness of our Lord.

  At the end of the day, we put LIFE back in its old box and put it up on a shelf in a closet. And, there it will sit until the next time we pull it out to play. But the real life is lived every single day. Good days. Bad days. Ordinary days. Special days. Each day is a gift from the Lord and each day is to be lived doing all we can for the kingdom.

  It is simply, Life.