Monday, June 1, 2015

"Simon Says"--Game On!

Being a grandparent is a wonderful treat.  Grandparenting gives us an opportunity to experience again the joys of childhood without the strain of parental responsibility.  My grandson Sam is just developing his vocabulary and communication skills, and with that development comes so many fun possibilities.  One such possibility, when he gets a little older, is the game “Simon Says.”

You know that game.  Someone—the “Simon”—gives commands.  On those commands that begin with “Simon says,” the players are to follow the command.  On those commands that omit “Simon says,” the players are to ignore the command.  It is a fun game that teaches careful listening and attention to detail.  It also requires self-control.

I think and speak often about the importance of those who claim Christ as their Savior to follow Him as their Master.  This means depending upon Him in the same way and to the same degree as He depended on His Father while He walked on earth as a man.  Consider the words of Jesus as recorded in John 5:19: “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”  And, in John 8:28b: “I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.”

In essence, Jesus played a pretty mean game of “Simon Says” with His Father.  He said whatever the Father told Him to say and did whatever the Father told Him to do but rejected repeated opportunities to speak and act on His own.

When Jesus exhorted His disciples to abide in Him as branches abide in the vine (John 15:4), He was in essence inviting them—and us—to play a divine version of “Simon Says.”  We need to keep our eyes on our Lord and listen carefully and attentively.  We also need to resist the temptation to move away from Him and go our own way at times.

To be sure, it is not always easy to recognize our Master’s voice, to distinguish it from our own internal impulses.  But as with most games, with practice we become much more skilled.  Let the game begin!