“Let’s Play Like …”

James E. Farley

 I grew up in a family of eleven children; the first born in 1935 and the last born in 1959. I often heard the above words growing up with my siblings. While there was a large variety of ages, we all had our “playmates,” and we all had vivid imaginations. We had “playing” down to a science. We would pretend to be in the army, and we even fought “wars.” After Christmas-time, we would often collect people’s discarded trees and stick them in the ground so we could have a forest in which to fight our battles. We would often use sticks as guns. We would use sticks as horses, too, and, while we were playing, they were horses – sometimes wild, unbroken, bucking horses. We even had a “circus” once. One of my older brothers had caught two groundhogs and an opossum. We had a raccoon, a black snake, and some wild rabbits in cages. Of course, we had “Buck, the Wonder Dog.” My older sister and our cousin were the “high trapeze girls.” We wrapped the ropes of our large, homemade swing set over the top two or three times, and the girls just sat “up high” on the swings and posed. We made posters, tacked them to telephone poles, and charged admission. Oh yes, we had playing down to a science! 

 Often we even played “church,” too. We had been taken to church services, and we knew the routine well. We would sing, have preaching, pray, take up a collection, etc. We would get some saltine crackers and some grape Kool-Aid and have communion. I do not remember ever trying to baptize each other. When one of our cats or rabbits died, we would have a funeral service. I usually preached at the funeral. “He was a good rabbit …” We even had a specific place set aside for our “grave yard.”

 Most children have vivid imaginations and know how to play. I am afraid, however, that many who are adults may only be playing when it comes to the church. Because of spiritual immaturity and a lack of willingness to grow as they should, many are just playing church. (1 Peter 2:1-3; 2 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 5:11-14). These know the routine well. They attend a good bit. They go through the motions by singing, giving a minimal token, eating the bread and drinking the juice, bowing their heads and closing their eyes while prayers are being led. However, too often they are, indeed, just going through the motions. Later, when a false teacher creeps in with damnable doctrines, as wolves in sheep’s clothing, these “children” are “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine …” (Ephesians 4:14). 

 Jesus spoke of some religious folks of His day and likened them “unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and you have not lamented…” (Matthew 11:16-19).

 I hope and pray that this does not describe you and your religion. The Word tells us to examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith; we are to prove ourselves. (2 Corinthians 13:5). I encourage you to do this often. Do you attend services regularly? Do you try your very best to be at services whenever the doors are opened? (Hebrews 10:24-27). Are you anxious to attend services with your brethren to remember the death of the Lord? (1 Corinthians 11:26). Are you a daily Bible student? Do you use the Word of righteousness to exercise your minds - your sense - so you can tell the difference between what is right and wrong and what is good and evil? (Hebrews 5:13-14). On the other hand, are you “unskillful in the word of righteousness”? Do you truly “hunger and thirst after righteousness”? (Matthew 5:6). Are you proving the sincerity of your love toward God and the Lord’s church through your planned, bountiful, and cheerful giving? (2 Corinthians 8:8, 24; 9:6-7). Are you abounding in the work of the Lord?

 These are serious matters? Please, do not just pretend to be a Christian, be one in word and deed. –1179 Mark Wayne Drive, Louisa, KY 41230. preechfarley@yahoo.com

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