What a Game Taught Me about My Mission

One of my guilty pleasures is playing Mahjong Journey solitaire on my cell phone.

The solitaire version of Mahjong (which is nothing like the original Chinese game) requires players to match open tiles (those with no tile abutting them—either on the left or on the right) to eliminate tiles. In many versions the object is to clear the board of all tiles.

But in Mahjong Journey, the mission is to free the pair of golden tiles. Match them and win the game. You’re also racing the clock to see how quickly you can do so.

That’s where my problem comes in. I get busy trying to clear tile pairs quickly and don’t even notice that the golden tiles are open. Instead I push to clear all the tiles, searching the board for tiles that will allow me to get more tiles off the board.

The crazy thing about that behavior is that until I click the two golden tiles, the game is not won. The rest of the tiles don’t matter. Clearing the board is not the player’s mission in this game. It is simply to match the golden tiles. Sometimes I laugh when I realize how many extra and unnecessary matches I’ve done before noticing the golden tiles. Matches that burn time on the clock.

I shouldn’t laugh. Losing focus on the mission costs. 

The loss is even greater when I lose sight of my mission in life. It’s so easy to get distracted with other things. I start on the right path, maybe, but then the activity supplants the mission, and I focus only on the activity, matching the tiles of life to proudly clear the board.

I’m wasting time, energy, resources, focus. And the mission remains unaccomplished.

Jesus gave his church a twofold mission—the Great Commission, to make disciples, helping others to follow him (Matthew 28:18–20), and the Great Commandment, to love God and love others (Matthew 22:36–39). When I lose sight of that mission, I am ineffective for the Kingdom of God. And all the religious activity in the world cannot make up for it.

Maybe my Mahjong game can become a reminder not to get distracted from my Kingdom mission—in that case it won’t be such a waste of time.



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