Summary: Sometimes we get so intent on winning the game that we forget what the point is anyway. You see the point of the board game, The Game of Life, is not to have more paper money at the end but to have fun with the people you’re playing with. And that’s the w

Game Over: When It All Goes Back in the Box

Seven Simple Truths About LIFE

Ecclesiastes 2:9-11, Matthew 16: 24-27, Matthew 5:3

In December 1994 syndicated columnist Bob Greene told the inspiring story of Rob Mouw. Rob played on the soccer team in his senior year at Wheaton Christian High School. In the final seconds of a big game against favored Waubonsie Valley, with his team behind by one goal, Rob was dribbling the ball in front of him, running at full speed toward the opponent’s goal. Just before he shot the ball, though, he caught sight of the scoreboard. The clock read 00.00. But like any good athlete, Rob shot the ball anyway, and it went in for a goal. The referee signaled that the goal counted, and the game finished in a tie. The Wheaton fans cheered. The Waubonsie Valley fans cried that time had run out. Bob had a choice to make. He could say nothing and avoid a loss. After all, it was the referee’s job to decide the calls, not his. Or Rob could do what was right. His goal was late, and he didn’t think it should count. His coaches agreed, and so they went over to the opposing coaches, explained what had happened, and conceded victory to Waubonsie Valley. Bob Greene ended his article with this quote from Rob Mouw: "Every time in your life you have an opportunity to do right, you should be thankful. For a person to know what right is and then not to do it—that would be a sin. To have won the fame – I mean, really, who cares? Doing the right thing is more important."

That leads us to our first lesson today: It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. And you say, that’s not in the Bible. But actually it’s all over the Bible and one of the major themes of Scripture, though it’s not just captured that way. Sometimes we get so intent on winning the game that we forget what the point is anyway. You see the point of the board game, The Game of Life, is not to have more paper money at the end but to have fun with the people you’re playing with. And that’s the way it often is in our lives. We can get so caught up in winning in the game of life that we forget what the point was at all.

One person who figured this out is known as the Teacher. He is the author and primary character of the Book of Ecclesiastes which is a part of the wisdom literature of the Bible which seeks to pass on the wisdom of God to each generation to help them live lives that honor God. The primary message of the Book of Ecclesiastes is not the most uplifting. It’s says over and over again, everything is meaningless. Here is man who was a descendant of David on the throne of Israel and in his latter years and he begins to look back over his life and he realizes that everything he had been pursuing was utterly meaningless. As a young man, he had grown up in the lap of luxury and decided that life was about pursuing wealth and he had all the things that money could buy but that did not satisfy him. Then he thought maybe life was about pleasure and experiences and so he made up his bucket list and went after them with zeal but when he got to the bottom of his bucket list, he realized that none of it really satisfied. Then he thought it might be about wisdom and he got degree after degree and became as wise as a sage. Yet he still was not satisfied. Listen to his own words, “I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” 2:9-11

This book is meant to be a corrective for the way the world sees life and lives. We can get so focused on what the world says to go after and yet none of them seems to satisfy. This book reminds us that there is something else life is for and it is not about winning and losing. Second, focus on today. Life is not about power, pleasure or wealth but so much more. What discovers is that instead of focusing on pursuing that next big thing, the next raise or job or retirement or sports car, instead focus on today. He says, No, every day is a gift, a moment where you can experience life to the fullest. This is the moment you are meant to live out your life and your faith. So take this moment and fully live into it. Some people are so worried about the future that they fail to live in the present. What can happen is that you are so focused on the future that you miss out on some significant things in the present. Third, life is about family. Sometimes we can be so focused on what we want to achieve and attain in this life that we miss out on the most important thing God has entrusted to us and that’s our family. And if you do miss them, you can get that back. You can’t reclaim them once they’re gone. “Again I saw something meaningless under the sun: There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. "For whom am I toiling," he asked, "and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?" This too is meaningless— a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” Eccl. 4:7-11

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