One of our summer school classes recently enjoyed a game day. I walked in to see students playing checkers, Sorry! and other favorites. Several kids were circled up on the floor playing Go Fish, a much-loved card game from my youth. I watched them for a few minutes. But it only took a few seconds to rewind back to a childhood memory. Does this happen to you too?
When I was in middle school, my church hosted a “Lock-in” for the youth group. We were inside the church from 7 pm until breakfast the next morning. There was Bible study, food and games galore! I brought my favorite deck of cards to play, you guessed it, Go Fish.
Well, I accidentally left my playing cards behind in a Sunday school classroom. And it wasn’t just any room. I forgot them on the coffee table in “The Reapers” classroom–a group of thoroughly conservative ladies in our church.
You probably know where this is going. One of the more judgmental matrons from the class brought my deck of cards to our pastor and was aghast. “Someone has been playing cards in the church!” Brother Allen, that’s what Baptists call the preacher, gave the cards back to me. To his credit, he didn’t scold me for bringing them into God’s house. But he did ask me to never leave them in The Reaper’s classroom again!
What didn’t add up, even to my 13 year old mind, was that the woman who found such fault didn’t even KNOW what was done with the cards. I suppose she thought we were gambling with them? I wasn’t about to ask!
Following Jesus means more than keeping a bunch of rules. That was my conclusion as a teenager, and I’m sticking with it. When I read “The Beatitudes,” from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-10), I recognize a beautiful attitude–the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16b). This must be what following Jesus is actually about.
For a look at an excellent devotional on this same subject/scripture passage, please see Authentic Christianity by David H. Roper.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.Jesus – Matthew 5:7 (NIV)
Photo by Trent Bradley on Unsplash.