The false messianic promise that the ultimate handout from Uncle Sam–or Governor Moonbeam–will bring you peace and prosperity flies in the face of everything a parent, teacher, or coach would hope to instill in a young American. No one respects the friend or family member in their life who perpetually banks everything on pipe-dream schemes, only to return empty-handed and, yet again, in further need of assistance.
The best games, like the best gaming, don’t yield easy answers. You struggle with them. Games, like game theories, that do yield the easy logic of ‘trust no one’ and ‘kill everything’ inscribe pathological assumptions that should, at this point, strike us not only as wrong-head and morally repugnant, but also simply unrealistic. In the post-apocalyptic world, just like the one we have now, there are people who can be trusted, and people who can’t; there are even people that can be trusted sometimes, but not at others, or in some situations, but not in others; there are those who heroically rush toward smoking ruin, and those who cause it. The radical stimulus and circumstance of game theory and gaming does not change those assumptions, it clarifies and extends their logic. Sometimes that brings us face to face with major questions, questions worth facing, worth gaming. And sometimes, of course, those games dictate the logic to us, and reinstate assumptions that are not merely morally bankrupt, but also empirically wrong. The world of popular culture needs its Francis of Assisi’s as much, probably more, than its zombie apocalypse.
Now certainly this is a large part of the biblical meaning of success; we are to take the talents and opportunities God gives us and make the most of them. Yet, we still need to ask ourselves one more question: “Am I working to make myself look good, or am I working to glorify God?” The answer is almost counterintuitive; when we work for Him and the furtherance of His kingdom in everything we do and especially in our vocational callings, we truly find the purpose, fulfillment, and satisfaction that we all desperately seek.
In this article Ravi Zacharias talks about his brush with suicide. “I don’t know when I made the decision—sometime at age 17—but when I did, it came firmly and calmly: A quiet exit will save my family from further shame. I was neither depressed nor impulsive. I had seen it coming for some time, perhaps always lurking in my mind as the final escape. Some cultures lend themselves more to the thought than others. My culture was one of them. When I arrived at university that morning, I walked to the empty chemistry lab. Somehow I got into the locked cupboard where the chemicals were stored, and pored over the shelves until I came to some packets marked poison. I stuffed several into my pockets…It was in that hospital that a Youth for Christ director, Fred David, brought me a Bible. Seeing that I was in no shape for talking, Fred handed the Bible to my mother and flipped to John chapter 14. “This is for Ravi.” Once he left, my mother read aloud the passage. “Because I live, you also will live.” Live? The word hit me like a ton of bricks.
His philosophy of giving was founded upon biblical principles. He truly believed in the biblical principle found in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”