Hunger Games – The Games We Play

Hunger_Games_600

This month we will be talking about the games of life. Everyone wants the best out of life. You want to live well. But how can one maximize on the short life we have here? Is it possible to find true satisfaction, for real, in this life? And if so, how? How can we score consistently in this game?

The preacher in Ecclesiastes 1:2 says something depressing: Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless! Was he just having a bad day or is it the depressing reality?

We will look at 4 basic rules of the game of life. These guidelines ensure you play the right game, in the right way to get the right scores. Put your sports gear on, and lets go to the field! I will be your trainer and a fellow player for the next 4 weeks. Let’s get to the field, for Training Session 1.

What Is Your Favorite Game And Why?

I love soccer for several reasons: the teams, the passion, the chants, the Mexican wave, the skill, the simplicity, and the clarity of the score… I love that game. Sports, like music, are a global language.

I love to watch water sports, but not to be a participant. I almost drowned once in a kayak out in the cold Atlantic. A huge wave hit us, we overturned and I am not a good swimmer. Thanks to a good friend I was with, am here today!

Water, H2O, is life. We use water every day – bathe with it, cook with it, put it in the car as a coolant, drink it and love to see it fall from the skies. For plants, animals and man, water is life.

But we play games with water.  Dangerous games sometimes.  The mighty titanic sank for playing games in the ocean (underestimated the strength of an iceberg). Water can kill – through floods, waves, drowning and choking and drinking it contaminated. Isn’t it the same in life? We play dangerous games and sometimes they are played on us:

  • We play around relationships and people get hurt
  • We play around money, entertain corruption and end up hurting ourselves and others
  • We play with marriage, break it apart, hurt the kids and live with the pain
  • We play with debt and find ourselves in serious trouble
  • We play with the substances that leave us in addictive bondage (the smoke, alcohol, porn, and drugs)
  • We play with power and fame, abusing and misusing it for selfish reasons. Until we are called to account.

The games we play. “The mass of men lead lives in quiet desperation.” – Thoreau we are frustrated (if not there you will) by the games. Is it that we are just not smart? I don’t think so. We are on a search; for significance, satisfaction and refreshment – an attempt to quench our thirst. The ride, the multinational job, the title, the relationship, the living quarters, the trips out of the country… Games.

But do we ever score in these games? Do we ever hit the back of the net?

John 4:1-15

  1. Attentive (v 7)– Her search in life brought her to the well at noon. Water. But more than water she needed. She came for water; Jesus needed some. The search unifies humanity. The coach seized an opportunity to teach her.

The games of life are meant to lead us to a place of reflection. Insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. God is in the common games of life. As we play in relationships, marriage, power, money and substances, there is a coach watching and trying to have a conversation with us. We need to pay attention to the man at the well.

  1. Barriers (v 9)– There were gender, cultural and religious barriers that had to be broken before she found what she had been looking for.

The Samaritans were considered half-breed and had a long-standing enmity with the Jews. Jesus was not supposed to be there.  But he was, by choice. Verse 4 says, “He had to go through Samaria.” Geographically, he didn’t. There was a shorter and easier route by the sea. Yes, love compelled Jesus to die on the cross to break barriers and allow us to come to him.

  1. Curious (v10-15)– She was curious enough to get to the bottom of the search. It is not about the water, it is about the living water. She eventually said yes to the gift and the giver. She pushed. And when she heard of living water, she wanted it.

Seems the search never comes to an end until we realize the true gift and the giver.

The point is this:

To score in life, get tight with the coach. 

Jesus is our ultimate coach. Unlike in other games, Jesus invites us to himself first, then to the game. Your level of interest in the coach determines the outcome of the game. Love the coach and you win. Avoid the coach and you sit on the benches or you play elsewhere.

To score in life, get tight with the coach. 

How do we get tight with the coach?

You don’t have to wait to hit rock bottom or faint in the game of life before you come to the coach. He has been making advances, are you paying attention? What would the game of life look life if you ended the search and embraced the coach?

You may score with money, find the man/woman, play the dream game in terms of a job or position…but the preacher’s reflection sobers all of us. Meaningless. Vanity. Chasing after the wind. 

There is a hole, a thirst the Creator put in you that will not be filled satisfactorily with anything else, but the living water. Quit the dangerous or boring or insane games and get tight with the coach. Realize that:

To score in life, get tight with the coach.

Getting tight with the Coach is a game-changer!

What are your barriers?

  • Fear of the unknown – She wondered how things would turn out with this Jew who claims to be the living water. But she was curious enough to say yes… join the game. Is that you?
  • Fear of failure – she must have feared failure. Will this work? Again she was curious enough to turn to the coach and see how it goes.
  • Fear of loss – What will I loose? May be the man at home? Dignity? Trade? Yes, may be you will. But what will profit a man if he gains the whole world and losses his soul? Misses the water? Turn to the coach.
  • Fear of rejection – Will he receive me, with my kind of past? Social, cultural and religious? Do I fit the mold? Really? Don’t worry about that, in clear terms the coach has declared interest. He wants you. He loves you. You have been seeking acceptance – he says come!

Or maybe you are born again already. You are tight with the coach. But your game is low. You have lost your curiosity – passion for him. You are doing what he hates, you are not giving him time in prayer, you disobey or are ignorant of his will (word) or the hardness of the game of life has just affected your relationship with him?

What is one thing you could begin to do? To enhance the bond. To grow the first love. John in Rev. 2:4, 5 says, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.”

What if we stopped long enough at the well beside the games of life? And overcame the barriers? And accepted the Giver and the gift of Living water? What satisfaction, fulfillment, meaning, peace and significance would come to life? Water is life. Living water is the life.

To score in life, get tight with the coach.

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4 Responses to “Hunger Games – The Games We Play”

  1. Hi,

    I am married to a man who insists on playing hurtful games. He flirts with multiple women and constantly sends texts like, happy birthday love, how are you my love, hi love to select women. He deletes his what’s app chats regularly and puts his phone on vibrate or silent so I don’t know when he gets texts. The minute I walk out of the room he texts furiously and quickly puts the phone away when I come into the room. He has cheated before and I forgave him but he refuses to stop flirting with multiple women, work colleagues. What do I do?

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  2. Hi,
    As pastor S preached I couldnt help but notice God was speaking to me. He was showing me my food addiction and projecting out to me that I dont exercise and eat badly. I try my best to avoid it but it feels so much better when I have a snack when im down, feel rejected or frustrated. I was having pulpitations ! as the preaching went on. HELP!

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  3. Pastor S,
    As you preached on Sunday, my hunger games came back to haunt me.

    I couldnt help seeing how bad the games i have been playing were. the worst thing is never realized that I was putting my life in harms way. in fact i was devoid of any second thought and had no objective whatsoever for doing my thing, until God opened my eyes through a very painful experience that i have decided to forget.

    The thing is, there are things we do, games we play without ever realising their apparent danger or implication, and we do such things sooo blindly. In my opinion, i think it takes God to open ones eyes to see things as they really are. And as you said, one needs to be tight with the coach in order to receive such life-saving notifications.

    My message is to all young out, there chics and guys alike – ladies, it doesn’t matter what you have been through, you remain a gem throughout all ages. Don’t let men make use of you, i mean sexually. Please don’t allow yourself to get into intimacy with every other boyfriend u hook up with.

    Some of these people are not even serious about you, they just want to take advantage of you. its never that important, if he loves you, he will wait. and as for you guys, you are the custodians of these weaker ones. whatever you do with them, God is watching. When the bible talks of the “least of these” ladies are in there. You mess with them and God will gladly mess with you.

    Either way,living a pure life in not a matter of being strong or careful or anything of that sort, its all about clinging to He who gives life to dry bones, coz the evil one is there, with all the power to steal, kill and destroy.

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  4. ManAtTheWell Says:

    I have never blogged about a sermon, but here goes.

    Isn’t it ironic how easy it is for us to judge the lady at the well tripping on ourselves seeking to remove the speck from her eye all the while forgetting the log in ours.

    As Pastor S preached, naturally as a man, although I felt like bursting out in tears, I had to man up (fellaz can relate to this). The lady, subconsciously in the search of living water had been involved in behaviour to be frowned upon.

    I did an exercise when I was alone that left me deeply troubled. I proceeded to write down all the women I’d “been” with and borrowing from Christ’s perspective where one who fantasizes with a lady is just as guilty of having committed fornication/adultery with her, I added to the list ladies i’d fantasized with.

    Lets just say, the list was something in the nature of a tele-prompter…endless.

    As I write this, I have made a covenant with the Lord. I realized that, it became very clear to me, that all this time, there was a God-shaped void in my heart, that could only be filled drinking the Living Water me being born again notwithstanding.

    The covenant, unexpectedly, is not that I will abstain from “questionable” behaviour (been there, tried that, bought the company that makes the t-shirts) but rather, that I shall walk holding this realization that I now hold as true, and fully rely on God’s strength (not mine) to walk the seemingly ever narrowing path.

    I’ll probably come under some heat for stating this, probably will have this post deleted or something like that, but am going to say it nonetheless.

    It is only the Spirit and not man that can bring one to a point of such realization and a desire to change culminating to change.

    Why do I say this, because even after trying to reach out unsuccessfully to my very own church to “fix” me, I now realize, though it all boils down to covenanting with God, and nobody else.

    S.D.G.
    ManAtTheWell

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