Saturday, September 25, 2010

Shhhh, It's my move

In the small town barber shop an old man is sitting down to a checkerboard with a young boy. Today is the day he will teach him the love of playing checkers. He will show him how to set up the board, where he can move and the direction in which he can move. A smile washes over the young boy's face. He knows he is in for a treat. He thinks he already knows how to play and how to win. Little does he know, the old man has much wisdom to carry and teach this young boy, if only he is willing to learn. By the young boy's surprise, the old man wins not just the first game, but many more after that. Finally, after watching each move of the old man, learning his steps and realizing there is more to winning than gathering all the pieces. It's taking the time to think. It's pondering over each move and being able to walk away from the table with a smile no matter what. It's the enjoyment of the game. Now, the young boy is able to teach another all he knows and is still learning about the game.

Up the street at the library a grandfather is gathering the chess pieces, setting up the board and inviting his granddaughter to sit in front of him. She is sceptical about playing. She would rather be out shopping with her friends. She wants to make her grandfather smile today, so she sits before him, ready to play. But, she must learn first. She wants to hurry this game up and move on to something more exciting, like text her girlfriend letting her know how bored she is at the moment. Little does she know, her grandfather is about to teach her valuable lessons about life. He is teaching her much more than just checkmate. He is teaching her how to be still. He is teaching her how to think before she moves. She will learn that one fast move will make her wish she took her time. She will see there is more than talking, but listening, watching and waiting. It is in this still, quiet time that she will grow into more than just a player in the game, but a winner in the race of life.

My son and I use to play checkers all the time. For Christmas one year we purchased a chess game for him. It came with details on how to move, and what each move meant. Playing checkers took us from ten to twenty minutes a game, but chess? Now, that at times could take hours. We would leave the board, only to come back later to finish the game.

It is so hard for us to learn to be still. Harder yet to listen to the wisdom of others when we ourselves think we have it all figured out. I have learned, just about the time I think I have it all figured out is when I realize I really know nothing. The Lord is forever teaching me to be still.

Ever try putting your child in a time out? Ha! Why does it work? They don't want to sit and be quiet for long. All it takes is just a few minutes and they got it. But, before they know it they are right back in that chair for another time out. It usually takes us a few trips around until we finally figure it out.
There is a lesson in every move we make. Every move, every choice, just like in checkers or chess leads to another, and then yet another. Each move is connected to a loss or win. We just need to learn how to take our time, slow down and not be in such a rush to move. It is in those quiet times that we can hear the whisper of the Lord. We need His direction before making a choice of any kind. We always think of big decisions affecting our lives the most, but in fact it is those little, everyday decisions that change our lives. Just one wrong move can send us down the path of destruction. We can walk away from the board either knowing we have played well, gave it all we had, and smile just in the sheer joy of playing, or we can walk away with a deep frown, confused and ready to give up, never playing again. How sad would that be?

We can choose to sit across from wisdom and learn, or we can walk with fools and never gain the wisdom to use all the knowledge we have. In my life I have made many foolish mistakes, but as I grew I learned from them, never to repeat them again. I still struggle daily. This girl wants to move forward, leaving behind the past, but many times it is that very past that will teach us to walk forward with a new found wisdom of life. A new attitude, leaving the old man behind and allowing the Lord to lead each step, creating in us a new person.

Lessons do not have to be learned the hard way. We can take joy in learning from others. We can take nuggets away from everything in life, leaving behind a legacy of wisdom for others to reach for and embrace.

Proverbs 13:1 "A wise son heeds his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke."

Proverbs 13:20 "He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed."

Proverbs 19:20 "Listen to council and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days."

Psalm 25:4-5 "Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day."

Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"

2 Timothy 2:15 "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

This world teaches us to hurry. In hurrying, that is where we make mistakes of misfortune. It is when we take our time, slow down and in the quietness of the room seeking the Lord that our paths will be made straight. He will forever light our way and never lead us wrong.

Wherever you are today my friend, stop and wait on the Lord. You may ask, "How long am I to wait?" We should wait until we hear from Him. It is in that waiting period that we learn so much about Christ and ourselves. Ever sit in a waiting room while one is in surgery? There is not much else to do besides sit and reflect on life. We pray and focus on the one before us. Just as in playing checkers and chess, we too can walk away with a knowledge greater than when we sat down, if we only allow ourselves the time to learn from those before us who have walked godly lives and look to the One who makes our paths possible.

James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him."

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all you ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
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