Since moving to Florida, I have found a new hobby called shuffleboard. This game has earned a reputation as retired person’s game, however that is no longer the case. Here in St. Petersburg is the world’s largest shuffleboard complex and has recently increased its membership to a cool 1000 members, of all ages, who enjoy playing this challenging game. The club has two competitive leagues and on occasion is the site for a number of tournaments as well as offer Friday nights that are free and open to the public. There is a long list of volunteers committed to its operation and success. It is a happening place!
This game reminds me of my relationship with God. We are a team based on a mutual need. You might be thinking, “What does God need from me?” I totally get your question because I can think of nothing to give that God doesn’t already have or need. I am human, God is Divine. I am weak; God is strong. I am faithless; God is faithful. My love is conditional; God IS love. So what could God possibly need from me? The biblical text 1 John 4: 9-12 explains it this,
This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us.
God loves us completely! I will confess that I do not have a full understanding of what that means. To love unconditionally is easily said but more often than not, our love has conditions. God’s love does not. Just as God gives us the love we so desperately need, we are in turn called to share with the world. People can see God’s love shining through us. So to me that makes God and me partners just like in shuffleboard. When I plan my strategy on the court and take my shot sometimes it lands perfectly in the 10-point spot or maybe in a square of lesser value regardless it is considered a successfully played shot. When the other team takes their turn and hits my biscuit off the court or puts me into the “kitchen,” for negative points; I need to rely on my partner to counter the other team’s strategy and help our team recoup the lost points. As partners, win or lose, we work as a team.
In life, the same thing can happen. We can plan all of the right moves and then celebrate a well-executed strategy for success. But just as often, our plans can go awry and we need to rely on our partner to help us get through our struggles. As partners with a faithful God, we can rely on our loving and faithful God to work with us in the good and through the bad. As partners in shuffleboard, we rely on each other to pull our game out of a deficit and work together for a winning score. As people of faith, we rely on the Divine God to care and nurture us so that we can show people the love within us. I believe that God makes me a complete person and then God partners with me to be a loving ambassador to my neighbor and fellow partners on this journey of life.