I thought of a favorite game, Othello, where you capture rows and flip the tile colors black or white to indicate that they belong to you. Having a strategy helped, and so did maximizing your moves. My brother’s favorite game as a kid was Tiddlywinks, flipping colorful disks towards the center space for points, your aim had to be good. You had favorite flippers. I just remember that He was better than me for sure because he put time into studying it, like an engineer almost.
So why is turning to faith more like Tiddlywinks and not Othello? Or neither?
First faith is not a game. Faith is a gain, yes. Faith is rooted in truth not randomness or skill. But Tiddlywinks requires action, calculated or simply direction. And we helping others in their faith journey requires action on our part. This may be as basic as not throwing someone off their game of life. And for sure we are encouragers, building them up.
“Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! ” Matthew 18:7
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Seriously, how is Tiddlywinks like being an mini-evangelist or simply a good friend? It’s thinking about how we move people and ourselves closer to God. Our directed actions. Perhaps living by example – prayers and praises show how faith helps us. Our stories mean something, maybe we talk of financial coverage, giving credit to God for pulling us thru tough times, or Him making us smart enough to spend wisely, or giving us some extra for enjoyment. For sure we must talk about His help to us thru this pandemic. We know others who are so comforted in their times of stress by His presence. Can we show others our faith?
How is God NOT like Tiddlywinks? He simply tips the board to His favor and with His Hand slides us all into His circle closest to Him, best yet He hand lifts each of us to Him. He of course brings Jesus to us, no matter where we are on the board or fallen off onto the floor or swept under the rug or jammed in the vacuum cleaner. We KNOW God is looking for us – tell the world and say Praise the Lord.
God and faith is no game, but our gain, and His gain.
He IS an awesome God.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. James 1:17-18
Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing. ”I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips. Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Discussing God’s faithfulness when they beheld the physical Ark of the Covenant – 1 Chronicles 16:7-36
That day David first appointed Asaph and his associates to give praise to the Lord in this manner: Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, you his servants, the descendants of Israel, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob. He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth. He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit. ”When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it, they wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another. He allowed no one to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings: “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.” Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place. Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!” Let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them! Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations; that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.” Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Then all the people said “Amen” and “Praise the Lord.”