The past few weeks, my son, Aidan and I have been having chess wars. We play best out of 3 and consistently he wins. And I swear I am trying to win and just not cutting it. This is a weird place to find yourself as a parent. There was a day when I was soooo bored pretending to lose at tic tac toe in order for Aidan to feel the taste of victory. I would act clueless like I had no idea how he got 3 X’s in a row. That day has ended. This kid has been schooling me in chess.
The other night, I told him, “This time I am going to bring it!” I was talking all this trash, but I actually wanted to win, just one game.
So I was trying my hardest with the small brain power that I have been given. An hour and a half later we were down to our kings and one nook. I said to Aidan “The only way one of us is going to lose is when the other person makes a mistake.” So I waited. I ruthlessly waited for my 11 year old to get distracted watching Hey Jessie on TV or wrestle with our puppy or do something will make him mess up. That was my strategy: His failure would be my success.
This went on for hours.
I was the one who lost interest, got distracted and I kept looking at my watch thinking how long can we play this game. We have got to end this. But it wasn’t ending. And then, I looked at Aidan and said “What did Jesus say? He said, ‘If you want to be first’ you have to what?” Aidan said, “you have to be last.”
“You are right” I said, as I moved intentionally right next to his king so he could kill me. Aidan looked at me with that charming smile that the babes are going to start seeing soon and cleverly laughed.
It was a good game and it’s up to debate as to who really won. Aidan thinks he knows and so do I. And it is true, indeed that Jesus calls us to play by different rules than the world plays. He calls us to be last when everyone is trying to be first. He calls us to turn our cheek when everyone is swinging their right. He calls us to lose our lives instead of hold onto them. His strategy for life looks a lot different than ours. His strategy might look as foolish to the world as my strategy does in chess.
“Take the win” we can say. “You win the debate. You win the popularity contest. You win the control. You win.” “The victory is yours at my expense” is a way we can live our lives in relationship with others. That’s how Jesus lived. Are we being a doormat when we do this? No. It takes the greatest of strength, control, love and faith to be able to do such.
I will lay down my life for yours. Who does that?