Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dominoes in Silver Shadows

F.W. Boreham’s first chapter of Silver Shadows (see previous post) is titled, “Dominoes” where he shows the simplicity of practical Christianity with the illustration of a common playtime pastime.

Dominoes. You know, a game played with rectangular marked by small dots. The premise of the game is simple: get rid of your tiles, making each move matching the opponent’s piece. If your opponent plays a tile with a six, you play a tile with six. If he plays a four, you must match his with a four; or, miss a turn. Whoever gets rid of all tiles first, wins. What a beautiful picture true Christianity—where one finds himself living for the other person, giving himself away and not accumulating for himself.

Dominoes are biblical. Watch how Paul played:

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.” (1 Cor. 9:18-23)

Now, to play dominoes as a Christian, we are not to do whatever the world does. We do not match move for move, thought for thought, speech for speech, etc.. We are in the world, but not of it. Paul is showing us his game of dominoes by speaking of the goal of his ministry. “Paul had denied himself in the truest sense by placing himself under such a bond to everyone else. The phrase 'that I might win the more' is not talking about winning earthly or heavenly rewards. Paul was speaking of winning the lost to Christ. Such was Paul’s concern for lost souls that, though he was free in Christ, he was willing to enslave himself to people if it would give him an opportunity to proclaim the gospel.”[i]

Dominoes is not about matching the world move for move or demanding your rights, but giving them up for the purpose of winning, becoming a fellow partaker of giving up. We give out in order to see others come in. We pour out in order to see others filled up. We betray ourselves in order to see others know the truth. Paul says before this, ““I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel”[ii] How miserable the Christian who does not play, or he plays for himself and the game is lost.

The game is played on the table of the real world, where we are honest with others through our testimony. Our testimony is not the vehicle through which we introduce others to Christ, that’s the responsibility of the law. Our testimony is where we display common ground by using the law to show the breadth of human depravity, not to level the playing field in order to minimize the predicament from which we must be saved.

“Paul’s words have to do with being made a servant of Jesus Christ, and our permission is never asked as to what we will do or where we will go. God makes us broken bread and poured-out wine to please Himself. To be “separated unto the gospel” means to hear the call of God; and when a man begins to overhear that call, then begins agony that is worthy of the name. Every ambition is nipped in the bud, every desire of life quenched, every outlook completely extinguished and blotted out, saving one thing only— “separated unto the gospel.” Woe be to the soul who tries to put his foot in any other direction when once that call has come to him.”[iii]

[i]MacArthur, John. Ashamed of the Gospel : When the Church Becomes Like the World. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1993.
[ii]MacArthur, John. Drawing Near. Includes indexes., June 4. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1993.
[iii]Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest : Selections for the Year, February 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House Publishers, 1993, c1935.

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