Back this fall is the hit television series “Deal or No Deal.” Have you seen it? Chances are if you’ve seen it once, you were likely to catch it again in your channel surfing. At least we were in our house.
The game works by the player choosing one briefcase out of 26. Each case has a dollar amount the player can win from $.01 to $1 million. There are several rounds where the player must choose a number of cases left in an effort to determine which dollar amount they have in their briefcase. At the end of each round the “banker” offers the player a dollar amount for their briefcase. Sometimes the player makes a good deal, sometimes they don’t.
In life we play “Deal or No Deal” in our daily lives. Sometimes it is with our family, our or job, or with God. The “games” we play with God have the greatest potential for long-lasting consequences, for better or worse. In most cases we carry a high dollar amount in our case, though rarely the million dollars. In the worst cases, we hold on to our $1 case until the end, and find ourselves with nothing in our encounters with God.
Well, what do you mean by that? you may be asking. The best example I have is of the Pharisees and the scribes that Jesus dealt with time and again. They were the teachers of the Law, the leaders of the people, and they should have recognized Jesus when they saw Him and the testimony of His actions. But they didn’t. In fact, they considered Him a threat, even to the point of attributing the power of Satan to His ministry.
Jesus took on the Pharisees in part of His sermon on the mount (Matthew 6). He would start the teaching with “don’t be like the hypocrites.” They thought their showmanship, their eloquence, and their so-called generosity would seal their seats in eternity. But Jesus encouraged those listening to be different from them. In spite of their study, teaching, rules, and their zeal in all of these, the Pharisees did not have the high prize in their case. Rather, they were bankrupt with no real gain in their hands.
When it comes to understanding, serving and loving God, do not be afraid to say you do not have all the answers. It is better to recognize a lack of understanding and ask for godly wisdom than to encourage others in a worldly understanding and find yourself in danger of the judgment reserved for those who lead sheep astray. It is better to serve God out of your love for Him, rather than to be recognized or to pin the proverbial medal on your chest. And you must truly be in love with God, entertaining a true relationship with His heart, or you may find yourself outside the door crying, “Lord, I did all this in Your name,” and hearing “I never knew you.”
There is one other twist between the gameshow and “playing” with God. Have you noticed how difficult it can be for players to cut a deal with banker because they are holding for more? When dealing with your soul and your human nature, it is even harder to let go. Also, with God the “banker” is Jesus. You can never truly hold the greatest prize yourself, you need to cut a deal. With Him, the offer never changes; it is complete surrender or no prize. So when God steps up to you and asks, “Deal or No Deal,” what will your answer be?