I have recently been playing a board game called ‘LIFE’ by Milton Bradley, with two teenage girls. I’m not usually a connoisseur of board games, but found this one quite interesting. In so many ways it mirrored what many would refer to as ‘real life.’ You begin the game by making a choice on whether or not you attend college or choose a career path. As the game progresses you get married, have children, buy a house, change or keep your chosen career and eventually you get to retire. On the spin of a counter, you may end up becoming a grandparent or running for mayor or vacationing in the Grand Canyon. Then there is the other side of ‘LIFE’ that you may ‘land on’ during the game such as paying taxes, losing your job or having to pay hefty medical expenses due to a skiing accident or lifesaving operation. The game is inclusive of both the positive and negative aspects of everyday living. It gives no consideration to the spiritual aspect of course.
In this particular game, the person who has accumulated the most money at the end is considered the winner. Out of seven games I only managed to win once, and the two teens were quick to point that out! I am well aware that the stakes are very different from a spiritual perspective. A six figure salary or a beautiful mansion does little to impress Almighty God. In fact Jesus said in the gospel of Luke that a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions (Luke 12:15). It is not that owning things is wrong in itself, but earthly treasures fall far short of the life God intended for us. In today’s scripture Jesus said that He had come to give us life, and in all its fullness. He also said in John 14:6 that He was the way, the truth and the life. The life He came to give us was His very self!
Jesus never promised that abundant life would always mean being shielded from all the negativities that come with living on this earth, just like I couldn’t avoid them on the game board. Being a Christian does not inoculate you from all trials and tribulations. If it did, it would be much more marketable and the churches would be overflowing. The simple fact is that the sewerage may still overflow into the basement; the kids may still come home from school with head lice or the car may still break down in the most inconvenient of weather. Like it or not, we all, from time to time, have one of those days. This is not the sort of life however that Jesus was talking about in today’s scripture. He wasn’t talking about the course or affairs of life but rather something much more significant. He was talking about the life that only God can give – rich in purpose, meaning and promise. That life begins for you the moment you accepted Jesus as your personal Saviour and will continue throughout eternity (John 17:3).
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