My office has two big windows. I appreciate the light.
This morning I looked up from my work and saw the kids from the preschool running and playing on the playground. They reminded me that spring is here, and I’m very thankful for that.
But I also noticed one of the teachers running and playing, too. She was playing tag, going down the slide, and enjoying life like one of the kids. Her joy reminded me of what Jesus said in Matthew 18:1-5
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 Then he called a little child over to sit among the disciples, 3 and said, “I assure you that if you don’t turn your lives around and become like this little child, you will definitely not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Those who humble themselves like this little child will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
It just might be that we have forgotten how to play. We are stuck on the endless quest to make money, meet the expectations of others, keep up with the flow of society, and be “mature” adults. We all have responsibilities, but how many of them are self-imposed or put on his by society? There is time to play, but we have our priorities out of whack.
Like the pre-school teacher on the playground, we could choose to laugh more, learn new things, and enjoy life. Instead, we are attached to our phones and are way too scheduled with our time. What happened to card games, a movie night, or a walk around the block with the family?
“Pastor Brody, you are so naive. People are dealing with real life struggles and you are talking about playing?!” Yep.
Friends, I believe that play is important in the midst of the struggles, not in their absence. Life doesn’t go as we plan, but with faith in the grace of Jesus Christ we appeal to a hope that is much bigger than the things that tie us down. Our story is one of death AND resurrection. Hope.
We play because we have hope in Jesus.
Play is our way of answering Jesus’ call to become like children. Life, in all its complexities, doesn’t have to mean we lose our joy and hope. Bad experiences don’t have to turn us dark and full of anger. Pride doesn’t have to push out child-like humility and acceptance.
We play because we don’t take life so seriously.
We’ve been inside all winter and it’s time to get outside and play. Maybe you’ve been so focused on the next item on your agenda for so long you forgot to how to play. Well, it’s time to play again. Don’t wait until all the work is done. There is always more work. Don’t wait until you feel happy. There are always reasons to be sad. Don’t wait until you’ve got the time. There is always something to put ahead of fun. Play now.
So go for a walk. Take your kids or grandkids to the park. Invite a friend over and play cards on the porch. Light up the grill and share some food with friends. And no boring adult excuses. We are supposed to be like children to enter the kingdom of heaven. There’s your excuse to play!
I know Jesus didn’t specifically say to play. He said we are to humble ourselves like children. Guess what? The more humble we become the less serious we take our every move. Play is the result.
This weekend we are having a staff Christmas Party. I know, Christmas was a long time ago but we were all so busy…there’s another boring adult excuse! Anyway, we’re going bowling and I’m excited to make a fool of myself! We don’t have to be good at everything we do. We can learn, have fun, and laugh…like children!
Don’t take yourself so seriously. Go play.