It’s A Pawn’s Life

In every mention of chess in this article, I’m referring to the second level of skill. I wouldn’t want you to think I was totally incompetent. On the first level I’m pretty good. I only have to cheat about three times per game to win on the first level.

In the game of chess, pawns play the part that peasants or serfs played in medieval warfare. In time of war, peasants might be given a spear and told to charge the King’s massed, armored enemies. They didn’t have much choice, because they would be executed if they didn’t obey. Right there on the battlefield. Due process was a swwwiiishing swwoooordCHOP! and that was the end of that discussion.

Peacetime wasn’t much better. Peasants didn’t own much, if anything. Their rulers did what they wanted with the peasants’ property. Peasants didn’t really own any property. When your king or a duke can take whatever you have whenever he wants, you don’t really own anything.

On to the pawn.

Pawns are the least capable pieces on the chessboard. They can only move forward. Only on their first move can they move more than one space per turn. There are more of them than of any other piece. Given their limited ability and high availability, they are sacrificed more easily than the other pieces.

Yet I find myself HATING those blasted pawns, because the computer can use them so effectively that I can’t even get my game started before I’m blocked from making the moves I need to make. In the hands of an expert, pawns can win the game before it gets started. They can leave the opponent off-balance and struggling to compensate from the first moves of the very short game.

Have you ever played chess with a computer? Or with a human who really knows how to use pawns? You’d better have a high frustration level, or you’ll hurl the board against the wall. This is particularly undesirable when the “board” is on your computer.

Have you ever felt like a pawn? You are, of course. A pawn of government. In this formerly free country – well, think this over:
Did you ever consider that even the government has “overlords”? Remember the account of the devil tempting Jesus in the book of Luke?

The devil led [Jesus] up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor. It has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” (Remember that the next time you’re asked to donate to a political campaign or candidate.)

So you’re more of a pawn than you thought. You’re a pawn of a pawn of a pawn.

That sounds like a Jimmy Buffett song… uh, sorry. My attention lapsed for a moment.

But in chess, remember, pawns can wreak havoc with the opponent’s game. Could that be true in the spiritual world also?

Paul answered that in 1st Corinthians chapter 1:

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe … Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”

Most of us will not in this life be more than pawns. But unlike most pawns and peasants throughout history, we get to choose whose pawn we will be.

And we have the assurance that we can wreak havoc with the enemy’s plans. The enemy of 0ur souls, I mean.
Your government wants you to serve it for a chance to earn a little money, live in some small measure of comfort (we hope) and then die.

The evil ones behind the governments, the fallen angels or demons, want you to serve them, and if you do, they will mostly leave you alone. But they’re whimsical and sadistic, and you can’t count on being left alone, or on help when you need it. If you serve well, they may reward you with lots of money and power. The catch is, when you die, you will discover you have also earned a much hotter seat in hell.

Your boss offers a paycheck, but may demand more than you’re willing to give. If you serve your boss, you can expect to be laid off about one year before you start collecting your retirement. Or some such trick.

Or you could choose to be God’s pawn. If you do, you may be called on to endure horror beyond what most Americans can even comprehend. You may start out poor and become bankrupt. You may have no idea whatsoever what God is doing all through your entire life, until you get to Heaven. There’s a lot of “trust Me” in the relationship.

But you can trust Him. He proved that when He remained silent and His Son died a horrible death which gave Him the right to declare justified anyone who chose to believe in Jesus. With that justification comes eternal life, a life without pain or grief or suffering:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.‘ “

He who was seated on the throne said, ‘Look! I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ ” (Revelation 21:1-5)

And the rewards He promises us will last forever:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:2-4)

And of course there is hazardous duty pay:

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be supremely joyful, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)

And there are other promises for the Pawns of the Most High:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3-10)

The Holy One of Israel pours out blessing on those faithful to Him like I pour maple syrup on my pancakes: until they’re saturated!

Come join us at the feast!

The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” (Revelation 22:17)