Friday, February 5, 2010

Dominoes Tournament of Champions

"But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. – Matthew 23: 8-12

For years now my friends and I have played a game called Dominoes.

It is essentially a four-way algebra chess match except that the only chance that is involved is the dominoes you draw at the beginning of each game.

We all think that we are very good at this game. Also, we are all extremely competitive.

But there is something that I have noticed about myself. When I talk trash about how good I am, I always lose.


This was never more painfully true than when we organized a “Dominoes Tournament of Champions”. We wanted to determine who was truly the best among us. We built it up for weeks and finally the day came. I felt that I was at top form and that there was really only one threat to my victory.

My domino nemesis, Kieran.

So, I thought about his strategy and worked on ways to thwart it. When the weekend of the tourney arrived I was ready.

But disaster struck.

As I talked trash I lost more and more. It turned out that the winner wasn’t Kieran; it was Larry.

The most insufferable winner that one could ever imagine…

Larry wore a silly cowboy hat for each game and he destroyed us all. While Kieran and I were talking trash about how great we were, Larry spent weeks studying everyone’s game, tactics, strategies and patterns and figured out how to play us against each other.

He was a silent assassin.

At least five years have passed and Larry regularly reminds us that he is still the undisputed, reigning DTOC champion.

I still carry the sting of bitterness in my heart.

What I learned from this experience is that when we foolishly build ourselves up with arrogance we tend to fall. The reason why is that we spend so much time focusing on ourselves and the image that we want to portray to others that we lose focus on everything else that is important.

It’s not about us.

Whether it is dominoes or our careers, relationships, or spiritual walk; it’s important to remember that we are only part of the equation.

Focusing on God tends to make things work out better in the long run anyway.  Just like Jesus said above, “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Clown all you want to now Larry. But next time… I’ll be ready.

Humble and silent.

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A Convo With God by Clarence Mitchell III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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