Just about every organized game you’ve ever played has some sort of limit, usually time. It is a way of letting you know when the game is going to end, how long you have to achieve the goal. In baseball you get nine innings. In a boardgame you might play until someone gets ten points. When we reach these barriers, we know the game is over.

The reason our games have rules is to keep us focused, to clarify the stakes. The same is true in life. We know that death is coming, but we do not know when. This is not meant to be some imposing dread. It is meant to let us know that we are on an adventure. A short one. One that will end. The question is whether we will end with a great prize, or “be disqualified” from winning that prize.

What are we supposed to be chasing as time ticks away? What does it mean to win at life? Throughout Scripture, winning is described as being a fearless and faithful witness. Each of us have abilities and opportunities. We encounter obstacles and an array of circumstances. All of it is the setting in which we may be a faithful witness.

Just like with sports or board games, the limits are meant to help. They are meant to stave off apathy and indifference, to help us focus and do our best. To let us know when we are done 

Life is a short adventure. In the blink of an eye, it will be over. We have this one chance to make the most of it. To play to win. Winning means being a good steward of every opportunity, small or large. 

Every day, every moment, is an opportunity to play the game of life, to run our race. We are invited to choose, to love, and to believe to the best of our ability. Sometimes we fall, but we can get up and keep going. We are given teammates to help us along the journey. In the end, we are responsible for what we do in the time allotted with what we are given. We are told to love others, to speak the truth with grace, and to live the gospel courageously. We are the stewards of this one precious life. For as long as it lasts, we are invited to play and to play well.

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
– 1 Corinthians 9:25-27