This week we continue our series based on the popular board game, The Game of Life. Last week we discussed a valuable lesson we learn from board games about “playing well with others”. This week we will be discussing something that is very unique to The Game of Life, the “STOP!” spaces. On the board game are several “STOP!” spaces where you are required to stop and make some life decisions.
The first “STOP!” space you encounter in the game is called “CAREER”. Before you reach this space, you have to make a decision to either go to college or enter directly into the workforce. Both choices have their advantages and disadvantages. If you choose to forgo college you can skip the spaces related to going to college and avoid paying tuition, but your career choices are limited and make less money and of course, by choosing the college route the inverse is true (wait longer and pay more, but more career options that pay better. This first “STOP!” space can dramatically affect the outcome of the game but don’t invest too much into this decision because there are many more “STOP!” spaces to come (marriage, family, second career, retirement, etc.).
The same is true for most of us in our real lives. We encounter “STOP!” spaces all the time. Sometimes the spaces are good and sometimes not so much, but they all affect the direction our lives take. I remember when I was a freshman at Texas A&M fretting over what I should major in and how much it would affect my life. While this was somewhat true I also neglected to consider the other “STOP!” spaces that I would encounter in life. If 39-year-old me could speak to 19-year-old me about my future it would be to say, “Stop worrying and praise God for where you are at now.” What I have realized is that although there are both good and bad decisions I have made, I am truly blessed to have what I have. Could things be better or worse? Sure, but losing heart over bad decisions is not going to change anything that has already happened, it can only affect how I look at my future.
In Jeremiah 29:1,4-7, Jeremiah writes a letter to the Israel people still in exile in Babylon. The people he writes to are suffering for decisions that they had no part in making, but are no less responsible for. The word he shares with them from God is to grow. They are to get married, build homes, grow gardens, and have children even though they are living in exile in Babylon. BUT that is not all! They are to do so for the welfare of the city that they don’t want to be in AND they should work towards increasing the welfare of that city! In a way, God through Jeremiah says they are to do better than simply making the best of the situation they find themselves in. Talk about a hard pill to swallow. Sure it is one thing to make lemons in lemonade but it is another thing to have to give that lemonade back to the one who gave you lemons in the first place!
Sure, this is not an easy message, but it is one that can make us better disciples of Christ. If you are not happy with where you are at in life, STOP! Make a decision to not only make the best of your situation but also to make a positive impact in your community. I have heard countless stories of people growing up in horrible conditions who make better lives for themselves, but the real heroes are the ones who come from horrible conditions and make better lives for their community.
This Sunday we will continue discussing the “STOP!” spaces in life and how we can choose to not only better our lives but also the lives of others and how this act is a form of praising God. Join us for Sunday School at 9:30AM and Worship at 10:30AM.
In God’s grip,
Pastor Chuck Church