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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Playing for Points

My ten-year-old daughter loves to play Rummy, and often shows up at my elbow with a deck of cards. She's good enough to beat adults, and looks for any opportunity to do so.

I play for points—and take big risks for those points. I do crazy stuff like get a card that could be played different ways with other cards I'm holding, and discard that double-play card. That way, I've got more cards in my hand to score with, and a better chance of picking up the whole pile for even more scoring. I can rack up some huge points on a single hand.

The risk, of course, is that I get caught at the end with too many points in my hand. I watch carefully for game's end and try to meet it, while my daughter delights in catching me unprepared. If I lose a hand, I'm likely to lose big. But since we play for fun instead of for money or competitively, we're both happy no matter how the hand comes out, win or lose.

And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
~ 1 Timothy 1:14-15 (NKJV)

My most consistent source of failure (after my pride) is my tendency to go too far. "Yield + Zeal" is a guaranteed combination for success. But when zeal breaks out of a strong stride and breaks into a headlong sprint—without watching for the Holy Spirit's signals—and then fails to yield, watch for a colossal crash.

I really do try to watch carefully and avoid falling. I kick myself when I discover, too late, that I've gone too far because I forgot to listen to the Lord's cues. I nurse my pride and resolve I'm never going to run with such zeal again, but will use a little more restraint next time.

And then, inevitably, I remember:
Oh to Grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be.

I know I can't possibly pay my debt to Grace. I'm nonetheless determined to make as big a dent in it as possible. While I learn new ways to rely on the Holy Spirit, I'm still willing to take big risks, always hoping for a big win—hoping for great glory to God.

I can afford to do so, because I'm not playing for a personal win, I'm playing for His points. I'll be happy at the end, whatever my hand, securely in my Lord's hand.

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Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

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