Devotional Theme: ESPRIT
Matthew 18:3 (NIV)
3 …[Jesus] said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
God…is not a mega-manufacturer…not a celestial engineer…but an artist…who made the world…simply for the love and delight of it.
– Terry Eagleton
Are we at work? Or are we at play?
There are many versions of this story but the story below, whether it happened or not, is complete with details. It even included the place where it happened and the time when it occurred.
A 19th century immigrant, after passing through Ellis Island by the way of the Statue of Liberty, was found walking the tracks of the Lehigh Valley Railroad in New Jersey.
On his back and in his arms, he carried everything he had brought from the old country. Through fatigue and footsore, he shuffled along the rails until an agent stopped him and warned him to get off the tracks lest he be hit by a train or arrested for trespassing.
The man refused, instead producing a railroad ticket good from Jersey City to Scranton. The agent looked at him in shock and asked why he was walking when he could ride. The immigrant said he thought the ticket gave him the privilege of walking the rails.
He almost danced for joy when he learned that he could ride the train instead of trudging the tracks.
YOU GOT A TICKET TO RIDE
Someone noted that when he read this story, he almost heard a song that was sung the Beatles, “You got a ticket to ride.”
There are times that we are like the guy in this story. We trudge along the rails while carrying a heavy burden on our backs making us fatigue and have sore feet but then we don’t realize that we got a ticket to ride. Instead of making ourselves in love with life, we keep ourselves in line. And when we work, we see ourselves at work [emphasis added] more than seeing ourselves at play. Sometimes, in the deep recesses of our hearts we say to ourselves, “We have to make life work.” All of us have this. But when we begin to discover that we got a ticket to ride, to rise, and to mount on wings as eagles, then life will take on a new meaning. It will no longer be work to us. It will be play.
Sometimes we still see ourselves as the proverbial donkey with the unattainable dangling carrot. What is that carrot? It could be anything. Behind us is that we are being driven by a stick. That is why, whether it is the stick or the carrot, the donkey’s has a dilemma.
Leonard Sweet said regarding play, “We were given free passage to rise, ride, and mount up on wings as eagles. We were created to be a risen people. There is no creation without play. Play is oxygen for the imagination, which sparks creativity, which ignites innovation, which combusts in paradigm shifts. All human creation is recreation. God did not create us to work at life, but to play and find joy in living. When Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life,” he didn’t then spend his time on earth showing us how to work harder to attain life by our own means; he showed us how much God wants to walk with us in the Garden and how playing in our relationships, both human and divine, can make life ‘joy unspeakable and full of glory.’”
By the way, which question do you think is more appropriate: Do you work the piano? Or do you play the piano?