Whenever I play a new board game, my first step is to immediately scan the instructions for the section that is usually labeled “How to Win”. Why? Becuase I play to win! The “How to Win” section describes how the game is won and helps you to establish goals. In the board game, The Game of Life, the “How to Win” section describes the winner as the person who has the most money after everyone has reached retirement. Once you reach retirement you sell your house(s); collect cash for the “action” cards you have collected and for the number of kids you have; repay your loans; and then total it up. Knowing what has value in the end is helpful in developing a strategy for winning the game.
In board game, The Game of Life, the win is defined, but life is not a game. I believe that in some way we all want to win in life but we struggle to identify what the win is. So how do we win in life when “How to Win” is not always clear?
The first step is understanding that the “How to Win” section should not be confused with the purpose of the game. The purpose of a game is the reason for which we are playing. Board games were designed for entertainment, therefore each board game is purposed in some way to provide entertainment. Our purpose in life is personal and helps us to define who we are. Each of us must ask ourselves what our purpose for living is and the answer to that question will drive your personal choices and decisions. I believe my purpose is to love God, love neighbors, and make disciples of Jesus Christ and that undrestanding is what guides my personal choices and decisions.
The second step is to know that winning is a goal, it is something we strive for that should be aligned with our purpose. Think of a goal as a point one wishes to achieve and purpose as the reason one aims at to achieve that goal. While playing a board game my goal is to win and the purpose is entertainment. I play to win because I find the game more entertaining when I do. Our goals in life should be connected to our purpose. Goals provide direction and purpose motivation.
Finally, we are now able to consider “How to Win” in life. In the arenas of life that matter most to you (relationships, finances, profession, etc.) the win is what goals you have for each of these arenas that enable you to fulfill your purpose. What does a win look like for you in your marriage, in your relationship with your kids, or at your job? Is the win you have been persuing related at all to your purpose for living?
My purpose is to love God, love neighbor, and make disciples of Jesus Christ and winning for me is the “crown of righteousness”. The Apostle Paul throughout most of his writings has compared life to running a race. He shares how in life we are all running a race but not everyone will recieve an everlasting prize (1 Corinthians 9:24-26). Everyone one is running but the prizes (goals) we each seek are deteremined by our motivation (purpose). In 2 Timothy 4:6-8, Paul in perhaps his final words to his successor, Timothy, shares that as the race he is running is coming to an end. Yet, he is certain that there is a “crown of righteousness” reserved for him. The “crown of righteousness” is the prize of knowing that he has been made right in God’s eyes. In the arenas of life that matter most to me (my family, my profession, etc.) it is my aim that God will one day declare me righteous in my efforts. I know I have not been perfect or anything close to that, but I aim for that perfection. I aim to perfectly love God, love my neigbors, and make disciples. This is my win.
What is your win? Continue the discussion with us this Sunday, October 27th, at 9:30 AM in small groups or at 10:30 AM in worship. Learn how finding your win can give you a new lease on life!
in God’s grip,
Pastor Chuck Church