I recently discovered that Pokémon lurks in my home and out on the street. Actually, the virtual animated creatures or pocket monsters are just about everywhere I travel. Thanks to house guests, I am learning about the I-Phone and Android game. Pokémon Go has entered my life, just as I am reading friend Mark R. Shaw’s book: Work, Play, Love—A Visual Guide to Calling, Career, & the Mission of God. There’s an interesting connection between the popular game and Mark’s book.
Pokémon Go players use an app on their cell phones to capture different animated creatures and various weapons to gain points and power. They join teams and defend gym locations against other teams. If you observe people swiping their fingers across cell screens as they walk, chances are they are playing Pokémon Go. The game is popular with multi-generations and across the world. Players obviously love the play and work hard to get better.
Work Play Book
Dr. Shaw’s book Work, Play, Love has a chapter on gaming, suggesting that God, our creator, wired us for play, as well as for work and love.
Too often, he says, we keep these areas of life in separate “silos.” Mark declares God’s intentions for humanity is very much about interfacing play and love with work. He shows from the Book of Genesis and Proverbs 8 that God, with wisdom as a companion, sets himself as the model of how to do work with play and love. I like the idea of God delighting as he creates, consistently saying, “It is good.” (Read Proverbs 8 to appreciate the emphasis on wisdom’s involvement at creation.)
Mark, as well as his wife Lois, has spent many years training African leaders for ministry. In his book, Dr. Shaw has a lot of well-thought out ideas about regaining Project Eden in the cluster of callings that make up our lives. But first, we must jettison the Babel mentality of
excluding God from life, and, like Abraham, surrender our doubts to the one who knows the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. I cannot do his book justice here. I do highly recommend it for those who want a fresh biblical perspective on blending the areas of work, play, and love.
One idea his book has helped me realize more clearly is that the curse of work is a lighter burden if we are intentional about play and love. I hope you will be challenged to look prayerfully for examples where work, play, and love interact together. Then, incorporate them more fully into your callings.
Of course, some work is just downright dirty. Even so, there are possibilities. I think about the farmers in my family, who for at least five generations, have known hard work—sweat, bugs, dirt, wind, hail, broken machinery, etc. But through the years there have been lots of stories and practical jokes to lighten the load. Also, there has been love in small actions. I remember countless times Dad and Mom delivered milkshakes to hot and hungry hired hands, driving combines and trucks during harvest time.
Here’s one more story of work, play, and love interacting. When I was young and single in Philadelphia, I daily walked four blocks to my office from the commuter train. One of my favorite routes went by a posh building with a gold-framed door guarded by a doorman. Probably about five feet tall, the chubby doorman wore thick glasses and dressed in a uniform that had shiny gold buttons. He donned a spiffy, black cap. The doorman’s work, of course, was to open the door for the building’s clients, and he was seriously dedicated. But here’s what he did for me every time he saw me pass by. He tipped his hat respectfully and smiled like I was somebody special. It was easy to smile back at him! Work, play, and love were in motion together.