My boys love playing video games, one of which is Minecraft. Truth be told, I also enjoy it. In fact, even my 60-something year old dad enjoys playing it. We even pay for a Minecraft server for our family and some of my boys’ friends.
If you have no clue what I’m talking about, Minecraft is a video game. Unlike traditional video games, it’s open-ended. A world is dynamically created, then you have to survive. You do that by fighting off monsters, gathering resources, and combining (i.e. crafting) those resources together in a variety of ways to make new and interesting items to help you flourish.
Of course, the Minecraft world isn’t the real world. But sometimes my boys forget that. They get really upset when one of them destroys the other’s creation, or when one of them kills the other in the game. Of course, in Minecraft, even death is temporary. You immediately come back to life in the same world, otherwise known as respawning.
My wife, Leann, finds it somewhat amusing when the boys get upset. But when the bickering bleeds over into real life, she’s not too happy. It’s fairly common to hear her telling the boys, “It’s not real!”
As I was praying recently, the lyrics to the old song we sing frequently in church came to mind, “This World Is Not My Home.”
This world is not my home. I’m just a-passin’ through.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world any more.
How often do we treat the real world like my boys treat Minecraft? We get caught up in accumulating stuff, or in simply surviving. We worry about what we’ve built and accumulated here, and it affects our priorities.
Meanwhile, God’s looking down on us, shaking his head. “It’s not real!”
And it’s not! This world is just as temporary as the Minecraft world.
Of course, that doesn’t invalidate the feelings that we have. My boys know and understand that the Minecraft world isn’t real, but that doesn’t make them any less frustrated when things don’t go their way.
Many of us are at that same stage of development in real life. We know this world isn’t our home, but that doesn’t make us any less frustrated when things don’t go our way. I know I’ve been guilty of that.
So what can help? We have to keep in mind that when we respawn, we’ll finally be in our real, permanent home.
My boys read everything they can get their hands on about making the most of their time in Minecraft. Similarly, we should constantly be reading scripture and praying to get tips, hints, and tricks for making the most of our time in this temporary world.
And please, if you are already doing that and have the correct mindset, be patient with the rest of us who get frustrated with all the griefing*.
* Gaming term used to describe other gamers who intentionally destroy things, steal things, and otherwise disrupt the gameplay of other gamers.