The Game VS The Prize

Today I did my 33rd year in a row tradition for the family.  Let me explain.  Thirty-three years ago, I decided to plan a treasure hunt for our then 5-year-old daughter.  I created several clues that were hidden in various places.  In order to get to the next clue, she had to figure out the first clue.  After 5-7 clues, the last clue guided her to the place for her best gift of the christmas season.

Over the years, the clues have become more and more vague due to the intelligence of the children.  The increase of our children caused them to use their heads in figuring out the clues, so I have had to become creative to cause the treasure hunt to last 30-45 minutes.  The treasure hunt has not trickled down to my grandkids, as they have gotten into the 33 year tradition.

Today was no exception and off Brayden and Keaton went seeking to figure out the first clue-being under a black machine that fizzes in the kitchen.  Once they figured that out, they were on to the carolers that sing with all their might.  They became really focused on solving the next clue.  The last clue directed them to Tyler’s room that he loves to sleep in.


The cameras began to roll as the adults were excited to see their reactions when the door was opened and their gifts of legos and a scooter were found.  What happened next shocked all of us.  They opened the door and saw the scooter (Brayden’s gift) and the legos (Keaton’s gift), but they began to look for the next clue.  They saw the gifts, but they were so focused on finding the next clue, that the treasure hunt became more important than finding the gold at the end of the rainbow.

The boys missed the goal.  It reminded me of how many times we as adults do the same.  I was reading in I Timothy 6 where Paul was encouraging Timothy to be content.  “But godliness with contentment is great gain  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires. . .For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” I Timothy 6:6-10  If money becomes the goal, we will never stop looking for more.  If contentment is the goal, we will seek to be thankful for what we have.  For the boys, the love of the game got them away from what the object of the game was–to find the treasure.

I think another application of this principle can be found in relationships.  Over half of marriages end in divorce today in our society.  Of the couples that stay married, 80%  are unhappy and dissatisfied with life.  Couples find themselves dissatisfied with one another and think that moving to another relationship will solve the problem.  Rather than seeking to be content with the person they are with, they find themselves desiring someone other than their present spouse.  Pursuit becomes more important than becoming satisfied and contented with the one you are with.

On this journey there are many temptations that divert our focus.  Learning to be content with what you have is the starting point for experiencing life to its fullest.

About James Gorton

I am happily married to Nadine, a person I've known for 20+ years. She and her late husband owned Airpark Auto Service where I took my car for years. Four years after my wife died we began dating and the rest is history. We have a blended family of 6 children between us and love visiting them across this country. We recently had our third grandchild between us. We love to hike, bike and ski. I am a psychologist and do relational life coaching for marriages and families primarily. I love what I do and never get tired of seeing marriages and families move to more healthy places in their lives. Five years ago my oldest daughter Deborah encouraged me to begin writing my thought into a blog I call my Jlog (Jim's log). I have become more and more passionate in connecting everyday experiences to spiritual truths. I hope that as you read my Jlog, you will gain insight into your personal life and experience true growth in your personal and relational life.
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