Wednesday, September 2nd Proverbs 22:8-9

Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of anger will fail. Those who are generous are blessed, for they share their bread with the poor. Proverbs 22:8-9

I was taught to play to win. I was also taught to play fair. There’s a fine line between the two. Knowing the difference between the two is the key.

The line wasn’t hard to find when we were children playing games. You run hard into second base to break up a double play, but you don’t bribe the umpire making the call. Playing fair means you don’t cheat. You tackle the runner as hard as you can but you don’t grab his facemask. Playing fair means you don’t break the rules.

It was easier then because the games were well-defined and keeping score was simple. Each game produced a winner. Eventually there would be another game and you could try again.

But then we moved out into the bigger world. Games became a hobby and then mostly a memory. We moved into a world of getting an education, getting a job, finding a partner, creating a family. We moved into the world of business and government, of social programs and safety nets, of a world economy in an information age. Yet even as life got more and more complicated, the basics didn’t go away.

We still play to win. But what does winning mean? We still expect ourselves and others to play fair – but fair by whose rules? How do we play fair if others play as if there are no rules? And what is fair if no one is looking our way?

Proverbs says “Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of anger will fall.” What goes around comes around. Dr. King said that “the universe bends toward justice.” Cheaters never prosper. At the end of the day, truth and justice will emerge victorious as God brings the game to its final end. But do we listen to that? Do we have ears to hear? Will that season our play, will it drive us to persistence and patience?

The game isn’t about getting rich or avoiding poverty. The game is about maximizing our potential, using our gifts, seeing the whole and doing our part. So it is that “generosity” emerges as a godly gift and a holy moment in the game. Few are the winners if the point of the game is to accumulate the most stuff, but everyone can play, and everyone can win, in generosity.

If we fall prey to the temptation of believing that we will never have enough, we will never win. But if the game is about generosity, about sharing with others, we never have too little that we can’t share what we have with someone else.

There is one more piece to this puzzle that matters. As children, we divided into teams. Us against them. But today, in the real world, all of humanity is one team and the “them” we’re fighting against bear names like hunger, disease, war, slavery, racism, poverty, and all that separates us from one another. So it is that Jesus has given us the ministry of reconciliation and has called us to play hard, to play to win, and to play fair.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, thank you for all of the gifts that you give to us each day: life, family and friends, daily work, an abundant creation, and great opportunities to do good in your name. May we ever play as you have taught us, for the good of all. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

2 Responses to “Wednesday, September 2nd Proverbs 22:8-9”

  1. Robert Bratt Says:

    “The game is about maximizing our potential, using our gifts, seeing the whole and doing our part.”

    Could we also add “Act on what troubles our hearts”?

  2. Meg Says:

    The game is loving your neighbor as yourself. That means treating others the way you want to be treated and treating everyone with respect and honor. If we use this as the criteria for fairness, then I think that we will be following Jesus’s example and showing other’s the grace and love of God.

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