Winners and Losers
- November 8, 2020
When it comes to playing games, my family is very competitive. One reason why I feel at home around Pastor Matt’s family is that they love to play games, too and are just as competitive. I remember one of the first vacations I took with Pastor Matt and his family. We played games all weekend long. One of the games we really enjoyed was Spoons. You know this game; it’s the one that has one less spoon on the table than players. We pass cards around the table, and as soon as someone has four of a kind, you grab a spoon. The player that doesn’t grab one fast enough is out. Pastor Matt always says that he knew I was “the one” when I ended up under a table with his grandfather fighting over the last spoon.
When we’re having a family night, we’ll break out the cards or game board and play all night. It is a fun time. We play games, but we’re serious. We’re laughing and having fun, but at the same time, we’re brutal. If you’re in our family, you learn at an early age about sportsmanship. We teach how to win well and how to lose well.
Over the last week, we as a country weren’t playing games. We were participating in the election of our leadership. This isn’t a game. This is very serious.
There’s a game that I have played a lot with middle schoolers to make a point and that is called the X and Y game. What I do is split the group into two teams and then tell the group that the object of the game is to get as many points as possible. There’s a lot of rules and a point system, but I have been doing this game for years. No matter how I do this, the teams always work against each other and come out with negative points. I never said that to win a team needed the most points. I said the point was to get the most points. Every time without fail, the teams work against each other to try to get points. Why? Because they assume that they are against the other team. Sometimes I don’t even use the word team and just call them groups. We have something inside us where we want to put each other in groups that work against each other. Yet, in this game I never said that the teams were on different sides. If they worked together, they would have gotten points easily for both groups together.
That’s what our country has forgotten. The point of politics isn’t to be on the winning team; it’s the betterment of our country. It is to come together as one people. Sometimes, we forget that as Christians. We forget that we are called to model this from the example of Christ. We have a God that made us to be one. In John chapter 17, we are reminded of the prayer that Jesus has for us, “21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. 22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me” NLT.
May we be reminded of this when we divide ourselves into groups that seek winners and losers. May we be reminded of this when our competitive natures take over, and we lose sight of why we are gathering. That’s something that we always tell our kids when we’re playing games. No matter who wins and loses, the point of playing the game is to be together.
As I was under the table fighting for the spoons from Pastor Matt’s grandfather, my biggest concern wasn’t who ultimately got the spoon, it was having fun and making connections with Matt and his family. I knew that life was more than winning the game, it was about family. Life is about relationships. It’s about people coming together for each other not against each other. It’s standing hand in hand making a difference and pointing to Christ with our actions and our words.
Prayer: Lord of us all, when we divide ourselves and when we get overly competitive, help us to focus on the point of working together and being together. Help us to become and stay one in you. Teach us to share this example with the world that is so divided. AMEN