The Game of Life
Player 1, your only options are 1-10, so spin the wheel. Land on seven? You’ve already hit a crossroads: college or trade school? We all know going to college will get you that higher-paying salary, so basic logic convinces you to take university’s path.
Your turn is over.
You impatiently watch your friends make nearly the same choices you did—except for that one friend (we all have them) who opts out of college in hopes of making it big as an athlete or musician.
Player 4 just finished; it’s your turn again. You spin the wheel and land on 5. You’ve moved just enough to choose your career and get your first payday to begin paying off those college loans. It’s player 2’s turn again, but you only absently pay attention this time because you’re too busy wondering how many more turns it will take before you land on “Get Married” and then “Buy a House.” One hour, a couple of kids, and a stack of achievements later you’re left with the decision of whether you’ll retire in “Country Acres” or “Millionaire Estates.” Whoever has the most money in the end, wins. And that my friends, is the Game of Life.
I am twenty-five years old and if I may, I would like to mainly address my generation. I grew up playing (when my older sister could coerce me into it) the infamous game of Life by Milton Bradley. As a nine year old, I would have preferred to play Capture the Flag outside, but even I’ll admit (don’t tell my sister) it was sometimes fun to pretend that this was really my life. After all, the game is practically “The American Dream” in a box. It holds our most treasured ideals: successful career, fame, fortune, a family to share it with, and a blissful retirement. Yet as I went through high school and began to approach my first, very real “crossroad,” I felt God was leading me to step off the path modern society expected me to go down. Instead he was leading me to travel the off-beaten road of foreign missions. So when I was barely 18, I took off on a two-month mission trip to Thailand. Seven years and seventeen countries later I think it’s safe to say I really haven’t returned to the road leading to “Millionaire Estates”. I now live in Berlin and serve on staff with European Initiative.
In case you’re thinking I’m sharing this with you because I have my life all figured out—you’re wrong. There are plenty of days, I still wonder what the heck I am doing. My life isn’t the “wrap it up and put a bow on it” kind. Depending on the day it can be complicated, beautiful, rewarding, and messy--but it’s always an adventure. And that’s what I want for you—a life filled with all the adventures Jesus intends for you to share with Him. I don’t want to see my generation live a life that was predicted by Milton Bradley so many years ago. I’m not saying I think college, marriage, or a successful career are terrible dreams—I believe they can be beautiful and God-given when used for His purposes. Yet I feel so strongly that God is wanting our generation to see that there is more—the purpose of our lives extends beyond our own personal happiness. You are here on earth because of the Creator’s genius plans. Your options are not limited to only 1-10, because the God you belong to is one of infinite and limitless possibilities. You were not created for an ordinary, game-of-life, kind of existence, but you were created for greatness. You were created to build the kingdom of heaven on earth and make Jesus famous in whatever sphere of influence God places you in.
Perhaps your heart, like mine, beats to the rhythm of foreign missions. Maybe you’ve heard the Lord tell you to “Go” and you’re finally ready to say yes. Or perhaps the Lord is leading you to dedicate just a season of your life to serving Him abroad. Regardless your reasons, if you’re ready to take your first step off the theoretical board game of Life, then EI would like to invite you to consider that “first step” to attend SURGE. SURGE is our 30-day summer mission intensive in Berlin designed for young adults ages 18 – 28. It also includes a mission trip to one other European nation. During SURGE, I believe that you will truly find your life as you give it away. It might mean putting college on hold for a semester, giving up a vacation, quitting a job, or even potentially taking a break from that relationship—but I cannot think of a grander place to discover the heart of God and the plan He has for you than on the mission field. I warn you, the path is a bit more rugged then the paved way to Millionaire Estates, but I assure you, following Jesus wherever He leads you, is sure to be incredibly worth it. Here is the link with more information and the application for SURGE: http://www.europeaninitiative.com/lets-go/surge
Lou Engle said, “God had a dream and wrapped your body around it.” My question to you—my fellow comrades in this journey of life—is this: What dream of His do you carry within? If you come to Berlin, the EI staff will challenge you to the real game of life. Hope to see you here!