M.A.S.H. Mansion. Apartment. Shack. House.
Did anyone else ever play this silly game? Everyone did when I was in early elementary school. The concept is easy: the player makes four choices corresponding to lists of everything that he/she would ever want. List categories could include future spouse, car, place to live, job, number of kids, etc. Then someone picks a random number and counts to that number, crossing off a choice each time. Eventually, you are left with predictions for your future.
The funny thing about it is that you could never really lose. The four car choices would be along the lines of Corvette, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Rolls Royce. The places to live would all be exotic and fun. The job would be something with high stature and a ridiculous salary. Even as kids, we were focused enough to know the American Dream when we thought about our tomorrows.
But where did that come from? Maybe that is an understandable mindset for those who weren’t raised in a Christian home. Many of us were, however, so why were we no different than our peers? And why are we still no different now?
When we play our grown-up games of M.A.S.H., don’t we still do the same thing? We work toward getting the jobs with the highest stature and the best salary. We plan on moving away to an exotic location. We want to have the best house that we can, build up the most security we can and make sure that we are as comfortable as possible. Our culture even cultivates the attitude of getting rid of our spouses when they no longer match up to a choice that we want—and the Church looks no different!
It is at this point that we must look at Scripture and come to terms with what we really believe God is saying. Either the Bible is filled with thoughts that are ideal and are good for some people, or they are words and principles meant to absolutely define the way that we live daily life here on this earth. Taking up our cross, not worrying about tomorrow, loving our enemies and neighbors, losing our life to find it, dying to the pleasures of this world …These are either things good for pondering on a Sunday morning, or they are meant to center our lives around in the hope of exhibiting distinctly different lives in the world around us.
We were not meant to play M.A.S.H. at all. God never intended for me to chase my own dreams outside of His plan for me. My selfish desires are just that: selfish. And self has no role in the life of a Christian.
Ultimately, there is not supposed to be a list of options from which we can choose what we would prefer or like to have. Instead, we have one choice, and that is giving all we can and all we have in a passionate pursuit of pleasing and glorifying Him.
"Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ." —Philippians 3:8 (NLT)[Matt Conner is the pastor of The Mercy House in Anderson, Ind. At age 28, he still enjoys a good game of M.A.S.H. He can be reached at [email protected].]