Reversing the Game

The school yard of my youth prepared me well for much of the American way of life…or whatever corner of the world you come from.  Growing up in Northwestern Indiana where lake effect snow falls like clockwork every few days meant lots of snow.

A lot of snow also meant and good snow hills to play on.  So my friends and I played the game King of the Mountain.  The goal of the game is to get on top of the hill by any means necessary and remain on top.  The rules were simple: There were no rules.  Generally it was every man for himself…pulling, pushing, and even occasionally punching whoever got in your way.

I suppose you can understand why the game was banned at school.  But could we imagine reversing the game so that instead of it being every man for himself, using whatever means necessary to get on top, the rule becomes about helping the other person by constantly climbing back down to the bottom of the hill?

That might sound crazy in this world we live in but that is the self-sacrificial servant lifestyle Jesus models for us and calls us to follow him in living.  It’s that way of life that follows Jesus to the cross and beyond by denying ourselves and picking up our own cross (Mk 8:34) and becoming the last as a servant of all (Mk 9:35).  That is what reversing the game is all about.  It’s radical.  It’s counter-cultural.  It’s following Jesus.

In practical terms, here is what this might look like:

  • Getting to know your neighbors so that when opportunities arise, they can turn to you and you can serve them as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
  • If your married and have raised children, find a young newlywed couple that you and your spouse can befriend and mentor.
  • If you live in a house with other people (spouse, roommate, etc…), be the servant of the house.
  • If you work, go the extra-mile rather than just doing minimal.

What other ways of practicing this self-sacrificial servant lifestyle would you add to the list?  What other ideas do you have to help reverse the game?

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