When I was a teenager, Mom and I loved to play card games together. Spite & Malice and Nertz were two of our favorites, and we could be quite the competitors! When I graduated from high school and moved on to college, playing cards was one of the things I missed the most about being at home. I loved those times with my mom.
Years later we ran across a computer program that included some of the card games I had played with Mom. Although playing against the computer is nothing like playing against Mom, I’ve enjoyed playing Spite & Malice on the computer now and then. And, I typically win, no matter what skill level the program is set to play.
A couple of weeks ago I decided to play a few hands of Spite & Malice after not touching the game for quite some time. And I lost. Several times! I couldn’t believe it! Not to be outdone by a computer program, I began to pay a bit more attention, looking to see why it was that I was losing so frequently. I noticed that my focus had slid. I was just going through the motions of clicking cards rather than paying attention to what my opponent held and how I needed to block him. As I paid more attention, I began to win again.
To be honest, a card game against a computer program is really pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of life. But that computer program reminded me of a thing or two. I have played Spite & Malice for years – really a couple of decades. I’ve always been good. I’ve always been attentive. I assumed a level of invincibility when playing it this most recent time. After all, I rarely lose. Why should now be any different? But it was. I was trying to skate through based on the way I’ve always been, and I fell short. I didn’t give it my all, and it showed.
How often do I approach other things in life that way? Spite & Malice is just an insignificant game. What about things that aren’t so insignificant? What about things that I’ve done over and over again – things I’m good at – that are integral to walking through life honoring and obeying my Savior? How often do I approach those things with the same lackadaisical attitude?
Even when I’m doing something that has always come easily to me. I cannot let my attention slide. I cannot just do it half-heartedly with no real focus. I am realizing more and more that if what I do is not worth doing to the fullest, then it just might not be worth doing, computer games included. Serving and honoring Christ is always worth doing, whether it’s in the easy mundane or in the challenge. Therefore it’s worth doing well. Always.
To be honest, that computer game is just a silly diversion. But, I’m thankful that I chose it that one afternoon. I’m thankful that the Lord used even something as silly as a computer game to remind me to put my all into serving Him. And that’s just what I intend to do, whether the task is easy or a challenge. I will give it my all.