Just a reminder, this summer, I’m going to be talking about a variety of topics and using some of our favorite games as a jumping off point. To make things more fun, if you have family game night, post a picture and tag me. For every picture, your family will be entered in a drawing for a “family game night” themed basket. We’ll be doing a drawing at the end of the summer. You get two entries if you’re playing the game I’m highlighting that week. Be sure to check out Ticket to Ride, Rack-O, and Aggravation.
Of all the games, this one needs no introduction. (But you’re still getting one.) Trivial Pursuit hit shelves for the first time in 1981 and when I think about the 80’s, I think about Trivial Pursuit. We played this all the time as a kid. I was reintroduced to it when I directed The Odd Couple Female Version. Unlike the original where Felix and Oscar play poker, the female version takes place in the 80’s and Florence and Olive play Trivial Pursuit. Even the game pieces are fun. I always loved placing the little pie pieces in the pie. Except the day I accidentally swallowed one, but that’s another story for another day.
I must say, I consider myself a smart person, which is what gives me the confidence to want to play Trivial Pursuit. But when I actually play it, I’m reminded that I don’t remember much trivia and I’m pretty much dead weight on my team. But I still have fun and learn all kinds of new things I’ll inevitably forget by the next time I play. But there’s not need worry if you’re struggling with classic Trivial Pursuit (which is really, really difficult.) Just choose one that suits you better. There are Friends, Harry Potter, and even Breaking Bad versions. Or, use the Family Edition and insist on using the questions for kids. No matter what version you use, it’s fun -especially when you get to put a pie piece in.
I couldn’t help but write about this game in my Family Game Night series because it so perfectly lends itself to a deeper truth. We all pursue things that are trivial. I know that was a quick turn, but go with me on this…
In Psalm 96:5, David says, “All the gods of the people are worthless idols”. In fact, according to the ESV, a closer translation is “These mighty beings are mighty useless.” I appreciate a good pun. Thanks David. The things we pursue other than God are either idols (harmful) or distractions (trivial).
It doesn’t take much study to know God hates idol worship. And although I don’t know anyone who has built a golden calf, we worship idols all the time. An idol is defined as: an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship. Things like money, family, health, safety, homes, or possessions -these things can become idols. Even things that aren’t harmful can be useless distractions. We wear ourselves out serving gods that in David’s words are “mighty useless”. You could say they’re “trivial pursuits”.
So, what’s to be done? Are we to do nothing but pray and worship all day? If all other stuff is unimportant compared to that, why not just cease all other activity? Well, I imagine if we all stop paying our bills because our jobs seem worthless, life will unravel after a while.
We have things we need to do, but sometimes we pursue them to the point that they become idols. Use this test to see if something is approaching idol level: ask yourself, “if this was taken away, would I ultimately be okay?” I don’t mean you wouldn’t mourn, but could you cope? It helps to see which things were holding too tight to. Idols are harmful. They distract us from our first love (God) and keep us from being an effective disciple.
Other things in our lives aren’t necessary harmful, they’re just worthless. They are true “trivial pursuits”. When I think of trivial pursuits, they often point others to us. They’re selfish pursuits -things like image or status. They often require us to put aside what really matter to pursue them. And the scary thing is they often feel harmless, but the cost is too great in the end. And sure, we can pursue them, but ultimately, they’re trivial and worthless. So you get the job or a certain number of followers, or the water cup Instagram says you need and then what? It’s always a let down because we assumed when we accomplished those things we’d feel fulfilled. But guess what? We don’t.
Nothing we can accomplish or achieve matters more than what Jesus already accomplished on the cross. It’s the only thing that will fulfill us. The rest of our pursuits are mighty worthless. They’re trivial pursuits.
So, how do we live in a world of trivial pursuits? We use out pursuits to pursue God. That new job? Use it to glorify God. Those followers? Use that platform to glorify God. That water cup? Use it to drink water. It’s just a cup.
Our lives don’t need to be marked by trivial pursuits because we were made for more. We were created by glorify God and that will never ever be a trivial pursuit.