BEfriend #5: Snow Days and Play

Dec 19th 2009

Sometimes I think children get the friendship thing a little bit better than adults.  I know sometimes not — every child has gone through some of those, “does anyone like me” seasons.  Those seasons hurt, but part of the reason they hurt is because kids get the value/importance of friendship.  Children playing in snow

So it got me thinking about one of Jesus’ classic statements on kids — which got me thinking about snow days and play…so follow along.  Here is what Jesus said,

But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. Luke 18:15-17  (NIV)

Don’t miss this.  This is potentially life-changing stuff.  Now what in the world did Jesus mean?  If you can’t receive the Kingdom like a little child, you don’t even get in.   What does it mean that Kingdom greatness is reserved for those who are kids at heart?

What does Jesus have in mind?  Well, when you think back to your childhood, what do you remember?  When you miss your childhood, what do you miss?  I don’t remember much about school, but I do remember recess.  Recess was the best part of my day — playing with other kids.  I remember playing King of the Mountain on the snowpile.  I miss kickball.  I remember vacations with my folks –which is just an extended family recess — especially one where we stayed in this run-down cabin near Yellowstone and it rained for three days…and we played hide and seek inside this little cabin.  I remember board games on snowdays.  I miss dodgeball.  I remember playing catch with my dad and tag with my mom.

The serious business of childhood is play.  When we were kids, a wasted day was a day with no play.  Here is what I think, “life is too short to miss recess.  Recess is the essence of childhood.  Without recess, without play, we miss the Kingdom of God.  A day without play is a wasted day.

What do you consider a wasted day?

In his book, The Effective Father, Gordon MacDonald wrote of Boswell a famous  biographer, that he often referred to a special day in his childhood when his father took him fishing.  The day was fixed in his mind, and he often reflected upon many of the  things his father had taught him in the course of their fishing together.  After having heard of this particular expedition so often, it occurred to someone to check Boswell’s father’s journal to determine what he had thought of that particular day.  Turning to that date the reader found only one sentence written; “Gone fishing today with my son, a day wasted.”

Life is too short to miss recess.  Play matters to God.  Play is not a waste of time.   God invented recess.  It’s more common religious name is the Sabbath, but it’s really just recess.

Okay…so what does that have to do with friendship?  Well I know you can play alone, and I know that you might possibly have friends that you never play with… but there are few things that will bond friendship better than play.  Maybe it’s table games like Settlers, or card games like UNO, or a good long board game of Monopoly; maybe it’s wrestling with your sons, or playing Wii with your daughters; maybe it’s getting a group to go tubing at Tussey; maybe it’s golf or ultimate frisbee or just getting together and laughing — but play is a good way to be friends.

When I was a kid growing up in South Dakota, some of my favorite days were 19_SnowDaysnowdays.  Snowdays are freebies — it’s like getting a Sabbath where you don’t have to go to church!  Some of my best childhood memories are snowdays — fire in the fireplace, and adventure outside.  So today, we canceled our Saturday evening worship service.  Now I still have a sermon to write, but all of a sudden it feels like a snowday.    So if you read this today — maybe God’s given  you an extra Sabbath — so go play.