“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
In his epistle to the Ephesian church, the Apostle Paul writes that our salvation is a gift from God, not based upon anything we do or anything intrinsic to us as individuals. God’s grace and mercy should preclude Christians from boasting about their salvation; it does not come from them so they should not boast about it.
So what can Christians boast about?
In the past two years I have discovered an area of nerdom that had gone unnoticed for almost my entire life: board games. I’m not talking about Clue or Candy Land or even Monopoly; I’m talking about much more complicated board games with rule books as long as The Screwtape Letters. Games like The Settlers of Catan, Dominion and Battlestar Galactica: The Game. I never knew games like this existed, but I’m starting to realize that Christians love these games and I think I know why.
I can’t boast about being a better person than anybody because I know that I’m a sinner saved by grace and given new mercies every morning. And hopefully most Christians walk through life with this kind of humility, the kind that Paul wrote about in Ephesians 2. So since Christians can’t boast about how good they are, they need something else to boast about. That’s where complicated, intricate board games come in.
If you win at Catchphrase, that has a lot to do with the other people on your team.
If you win at Monopoly, that has a lot to do with everyone else trying to lose after 45 minutes.
If you win at Battleship, that has everything to do with blind luck, literally.
But winning at one of these more complicated games takes strategy, skill and the cutthroat attitude of Goliath. When you sit down to a game of Catan and come out the other side as the winner, you have something to boast about: victory and the utter defeat of your enemies. Sure, you can thank God for the mind he gave you to think and the ability to build the longest road, but in the end, if you win, it’s your opportunity to boast.
Of course there are people who play a game for the simple enjoyment and the opportunity to spend time with others; win or lose, they can have a good time. I am not one of those people. I like playing games because I want to win and when I do I am boastful about my victory.
Excuse me while I go reread Ephesians 2.
What’s your attitude towards playing games?