Most of us have played The Game of LIFE as kids. If you did then you know how to win the game. The winner is not the one who is nicest as you work your way around the board. It’s not the one who skips college and doesn’t stock up on stock. It’s not the one who serves others.
No, the winner is clearly the one who ends up with the most money. The idea is for every player to retire and then those that wind up at Millionaire Estates count their money first. The people in Countryside Acres just have to sit and watch the millionaires count their money. Can you think of anything more fun to do?
And yet that’s what many people do in real life. They look at others who have more than they do. And when they look at the amount that others have accumulated that they don’t have, they tend to become unhappy.
For instance, Cornell University psychologists studied the happiness level of Olympic medalists. Which group of medalists would you guess were the happiest? That’s right—the gold medalists were. But what is surprising is which group was the second happiest. You’d think the athletes who finished in second place, right? The silver medalists?
But the truth is the bronze medalists were the next happiest. The reason is they compared themselves to the fourth place athletes and others who finished after them and realized how fortunate they were to get a medal at all. The silver medalists, on the other hand, could only see the gold medalists and thought of how close they were to winning it and how they missed out.
Some saw what they didn’t have and it produced unhappiness. Others saw how much they had and were content.
That might be a good lesson for this Thanksgiving week. Jesus said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” It would be easy to think greedy people are the ones who have the most. But the people Jesus spoke to were mostly common people who lived in Israel in the first century. Poor people can struggle with greed as much as someone that is rich.
Greed has to do with what you love and what you want. So the Hebrew writer says, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Instead of looking at what others have that you don’t, look at what you have and be content.
“What do you have?” I’m glad you asked.
- If you have shelter for the night you have more than many in the world.
- If you aren’t worried about where your next meal will come from, you are blessed.
- If you have more clothes than you will ever wear, you are rich by the world’s standards.
You can continue your own list. And, if you are a believer, you have Christ. You can be free of greed and experience contentment because he has promised to always be with you. He is all you need.
This Thanksgiving count the blessings you have instead of wanting things you don’t have. Make thankfulness a daily habit and you’ll like where you end up when the game of life is over.
Question: Have you paused lately to list what you are thankful for? Then take five minutes now and see how much you can list.