Who won?

Recently I played a card game called Old Maid with a couple of kids that needed to be occupied. Boredom had set in. So I rustled up a pack of cards and dealt a hand. It had been quite a while since I had played. The rules were a bit rusty and since these folks were small I cribbed a bit. Instead of dealing the full deck I dealt out seven cards per person and we drew periodically as needed.

It was a loose set up and I liked it that way.

The purpose was more than keeping them busy. It was to engage them in the fellowship of playing.

After completing one round the Dad asked, “Who won?” The older child indicated his younger sibling had come out on top and he walked away. The more I pondered these words, “Who won?” the more I thought we all did or should have.

I used to play bridge. I enjoyed the mental activity of the game. But when it appeared that winning and winning alone was the purpose of playing I withdrew. I like to play cards, but I play for entirely different reasons than winning. I play for the companionship, the fellowship of the game. I play to interact with others. I play for the relationships built over a simple game of cards. It doesn’t matter who wins. In the fellowship of playing we all win.

I wonder if we have lost the ability to participate in the fellowship of playing. We have become too concerned with who comes out on top. We hedge and jostle to be first, to come out ahead and loose the vision of playing for the good of another. Our competitiveness is hurting our interdependence. Our need to be best is fueling our independence and in doing so we have lost the value of connection.

In this Life with God we are already winners. God already sees us as beautiful and best in His sight. We are not about earning our place, but assuming the place we have earned. It is not about who is more and who is less. It is about who we are in Christ, who we are seeking to emulate, who we are longing to love.

So the next time you break open a pack of cards consider your reason for the game. Are you playing to win? Or are you playing to connect and ultimately to love? For that is the reason God created this game of life, to love others as He loves us.