The “Game” of Life

It was the one hundredth anniversary of the board game giant Milton Bradley. The executives asked Reuben Klamer to produce a game to commemorate the company’s milestone. Within the company archives, Klamer found a game called The Checkered Game of Life. He and a co-inventor developed The Game of Life in 1960. It became a great success for the company.

The inspiration for this new game was most appropriate, because it was in 1860 that Mr. Milton Bradley created the original game The Checkered Game of Life and launched himself into the game board business. In 1992, The Game of Life was updated to include rewards for players who recycled, learned CPR or for just saying “no” to drugs. Today, it is played in over twenty different languages around the world and is a permanent part of the Smithsonian Institute.

Real life is not a game to be played, but it is a journey we all must travel. From start to finish, life involves the most important steps you will ever take. Once you are finished you never can play again. To make the most out of life you must learn the basic rules. Use a good road map called the Bible to guide you on the way. Use it to avoid the many problems and potholes along the way to the giant payoff on the other side of death-eternal life.

All games must have a starting point, and the journey of life begins with BIRTH.

As children, they begin to grow toward adulthood in an AGE OF INNOCENCE where they have no sin (Ezek. 18:20).

One day along the journey, they will reach an age of accountability for their actions and they will SIN. Sooner or later, all sin, (Rom. 3:23) and all sin will lead to death (Rom. 6:23).

God has provided His Son Jesus Christ as means of washing away their sins in BAPTISM (Acts 22:16). At that point, they arise out of the water and begin to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:3,4). Many will skip this step and live their lives with the guilt of sin and without the guidance of Christ in their lives.

As a babe in Christ, they must keep on GROWING spiritually. This is accomplished by remembering their Creator in the days of their youth (Eccl. 12:1), by studying the Word of God (2 Tim. 2:15), by growing in the graces (2 Pet. 1:5f) and by constant prayer (1 Th. 5:17).

Many will choose as they enter adulthood to head off to COLLEGE. Great and grave temptations will confront them. They will be encouraged by their peers to sow their wild oats. Hopefully, they will make the wise move and remember Galatians 6:7,8: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”

During this same time period, most will be DATING which will bring its own special temptation: fornication. If they are smart they, will wait till marriage, because “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled, but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4).

When they finally move on to the next step of MARRIAGE, hopefully they will marry “only in the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:39) to avoid having the Devil as their father-in-law.

To support their marriages a JOB will become necessary. Paul gives the following rules for the employee/employer relationship: “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:22-24).

What they do to make a living will be nothing compared to the big job of PARENTING. Fathers have the duty to raise their children in the Lord (Eph. 6:4). This will require showing them by example what it is to be a Christian, showing them love via the rod of correction (Prov. 13:24), and teaching them the Holy Scriptures from their youth (2 Tim. 3:15).

Although a job, spouse, and children will demand a great deal of time, they cannot forget their NEIGHBORS. Not only should they live in peace with them, but they should share the Gospel of peace with them. To accomplish all these things, they need to learn how to budget their time. A budget for their family finances is also a must for success in life. God should be put first in their budget by giving to Him on the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:2). Unlike The Game of Life, real life is not won or lost by the amount of material goods accumulated (Lk. 12:15).

As they advance through life, they should gain experience and wisdom which can be shared with others. The world has a great need for LEADERSHIP. Some can develop into teachers (Heb. 5:12) or elders or deacons or the wives of elders and deacons (1 Tim. 3:1f).

Still as time passes, they may face a MID-LIFE CRISIS. One day they will wake up to the reality that the clock cannot be reversed, they are mortal, opportunities have been lost, and all their work to create a Utopia here on earth is but a futile dream. However, Psalm 90:10 reminds them that they have seventy to eighty years of life on this planet, so their mid-life prayer must be: “So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12).

One of the blessings of aging is GRAND-PARENTING As David prayed, “Now also when I am old and gray-headed, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation,” (Ps. 71:18). Women should be like Lois who was a wonderful grandmother to Timothy.

Another great blessing in our time is RETIREMENT. This is a part of life when they can stop working while they still have enough money and health. However, it is not a time to rest from their labors for the Lord (Rev. 14:13).

On the downside of life is the time of FAILING HEALTH. Solomon poetically and even humorously describes this in Eccl. 12:1-7.

Even with all the medical experts and pharmaceuticals in the world, DEATH will come for them all (Heb. 9:27). Winning in The Game of Life is easy. It just takes about an hour of your time. Simply count up all the money at the end of the game, and the one with the most money wins. In life, it is not that easy. Yet all can chose to be a winner. They must become a Christian and remain faithful until death, and Christ will give them a crown of eternal life (Rev. 2:10).

– Daniel R. Vess

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