On a cold winter’s day in 1982, two Canadian journalists got into a friendly argument about who was the better game player. Scott Abbott, a sports editor, and Chris Haney, a photo journalist in Montreal, decided to test their wits by inventing their own game. They posed questions to each other on a variety of subjects, and out of the banter came a game called Trivial Pursuit®. Within two years, twenty million copies of this game were sold; and today it’s one of the most popular board games on earth. Many of us have spent enjoyable hours playing Trivial Pursuit® with friends. It’s good, clean fun—sitting around a table, asking one another questions that have little consequence except to test our knowledge of people, places, arts, history, sports, science, and nature.
In a less flattering way, however, Trivial Pursuit® is indicative of our times. The name says it all. Trivial comes from the Latin trivium—literally, three (tri), plus roads (via). When ancient travelers met at crossroads, they stopped to gossip about the unimportant humdrum of the day.
Today our world is crowded with billions of people whose lives are little more than a lifelong game of Trivial Pursuit®. They want to be important, try to look important, and try to act like great people doing important things. But their lives are merely a conglomeration of temporary, twinkling trivialities.
I notice this every year when I take a few days off. Our annual vacations afford all of us an opportunity to back off, slow down, and look at life from a relaxed vantage point as observers. Each year it seems, when I go on vacation, God uses that time in my life to make a general impression on me. I’m often moved by the tremendous emptiness that exists in a world that has forgotten God.
God wants to give us life in abundance, but so many in our world have rebelled against God’s plan for their lives, setting out on a journey that ends in despair. Some time ago I read a parable that described our world in terms of an art gallery. It was full of picture frames without the paintings. Not pictures without frames, but frames without pictures. Some were carefully carved or gold-leafed. Others were gaudily painted, dirty, and chipped. But all the frames had one thing in common: They were wrapped around nothing. They were empty.
Every human being was intended to frame the inimitable image of God. We are His masterpieces, His works of art, His joy and crown. But without God and His purpose for our lives, there’s only a patch of the bare wall surrounded by a frame. We can light up the gallery. We can carpet the halls and create all sorts of special displays. We can lavish great attention on the frames, painting them, cleaning them, accumulating more and more of them. We can sell tickets. But the real meaning is gone, and life is trivial.
Well, God is not a trivial God, the Bible is not a trivial Book, and our lives shouldn’t be trivial but triumphant. We have another set of pursuits. The Lord says, “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. . . .” (1 Timothy 6:11).
Knowing God, living righteously, exhibiting faith, love, and peace—those are tremendous pursuits, and seeking those things is no game. Trivial Pursuit® is a good way to pass the time among good friends. But the answers to life aren’t found in little factoids printed on the backs of game cards. They’re found between the covers of the infallible Word of God and reflect the wisdom of the infinite heavenly Father who has a distinct plan and purpose for our lives. And that plan is centered in Jesus Christ.
Seek Him, and pursue His will for your life.
“For all [the trivial pursuits of this] world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who [pursues] the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:16-17).
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of
Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information about Turning Point, visit our website at www.DavidJeremiah.org.