High Score

By Jaime Nava

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So there I was, laying low. I was hiding in the bushes, lining up a shot on someone. The game was Battlefield – Bad Company, I think. I was playing a sniper and it was a pretty sweet spot. Suddenly this guy on my own team runs up and team-kills me. It was one of the first games I ever played where one could talk to other people via a headset. The guy begins to say things to me over the mic that one would not say at the Thanksgiving dinner table. I responded in shaming him with humor and wit. For some reason that incident has remained in my mind.

As I recalled that moment, it got me to thinking. There is this weird sense of bravado in video games. It could be a male thing by nature, but there’s a sense of superiority that people clamor for in a game that will be obsolete in the years to come. It’s nothing new. Recall the beginning of the movie “Tron” where all the kids are watching the washed up videogame developer get high score on the arcade game. One movie has a kid who does so well at a videogame that he’s recruited by aliens to be an outer space starfighter pilot. I’m still waiting for my recruitment ride, myself. Whether it’s PacMan or Planetside 2, there’s always the upper-echelon of people who separate themselves from the lowly casual gamers. There’s a sense of pride in being the best, even if it’s in a virtual reality.

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Now I suppose we should congratulate these folks for being really good at something. Believe it or not, some of them might actually be making money. For me, having the stress of clamoring for a high and lofty place is too exhausting and that’s not where I get my fun. For those who aim for that and reach it, you have achieved the American dream. Enjoy it. I’m sure all the grandkids will climb on grandpappy’s lap to hear the story of the time when he filled in all the three-letter high-score slots with dirty words in Ms. PacMan.

We should take pride in our work when it serves others. We should take pride in leisure, too. What I mean is, we should be able to enjoy what we do in all things, especially as new creations in Christ. I like when I do something well. That ability is not my own making. These talents don’t belong to me. I’m a steward.

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There’s the thing. We so often find our worth in strange places. We do that because humans are creatures in need of value. It’s not good for us to be alone. Where we go looking for value and how we judge others on where they find theirs, more often than not, is unhealthy. You are valuable because you are. Unborn humans aren’t given worth because someone wants them. That’s the beginning of genocide. The elderly aren’t worth less because they now “leech off the system”. They are valuable because they are. Worth is inherent in being. Jesus didn’t die for people based on what they produce. Jesus died for people because people need Jesus. All people are created equal in worth because all are created by a Creator who loves all people. Whether or not we find value in ourselves or others is beside the fact that there is objective, external value given to us by God Himself. If Jesus only died for people who produce then we’re all lost. If Jesus only died for people who produce then the cross is worthless. You are valuable because God says so.

Go on and do your best in what you do. It’s worth doing. Go work on the high score. Fine. Don’t, for a minute think that you’ll find lasting value there, though. You are valuable to God no matter how well you do (or don’t do). Your worth is paid for by the very blood of God Himself. It wasn’t cheap which means neither are you. Game on because you’re worth it.

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