Our family's favorite game is Settlers of Catan. It's a board game, and the object of the game is to build roads, villages, and cities in order to gain points. The first person with ten points is the winner.
Before each game the various tiles and numbers are randomly placed so that every game is unique. Since dice are used, a certain amount of luck is involved, and some strategy is required.
But what fascinates me about Settlers of Catan is how social the game is.
Players receive cards to "build" based on the roll of the dice. However, any player rolling a 7 is allowed to "disadvantage" other players.
First, that player gets to move the Robber to a different tile, thereby limiting cards to any player on that tile.
Second, the player rolling a 7 can also steal a card from another player.
Even though everyone is mindful that the object of the game is "to win," I will often steal from the player who just stole from me...whether or not it helps my game.
And it gets worse...there are hurt feelings and pouting based on where the Robber is and who's stealing from whom.
And it gets worse...trading cards between players is allowed...but those who are mad will refuse to trade with the offender - even though a trade might be to their advantage.
I am fascinated at the passion shown in this game. It's just a game, but hurt feelings and vengeance abound.
My husband will often take a different approach - instead of joining the stealing, he will place the Robber on a desert area and refuse to steal from anyone. It's a different type of strategy because everyone remains "happy" with him, doesn't hinder his play and will gladly "trade" with him.
We play this game as if winning means that we're important, that we matter, that we actually win the title "The Lord of Catan."
And isn't this just like life? Every day, we play to our own advantage, seeking our own interests. Life is like a game that we have to win. And when things don't go our way, we get bent out of shape and our relationships suffer. Our feelings are affected, and we respond in kind.
Life is such a roller-coaster, trying to win, to be successful, seeking love and approval from others, or condemning others...until we remember where we truly stand.
We stand before the throne of God, sinners who are loved and saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39We don't have to win or be successful, and we can enjoy life, enjoy work and leisure, enjoy playing games...because Jesus is the only Lord of Lord and King of Kings, and our victory is in Him.