So Sunday morning I was conversing with some of my youth guys about the game Minecraft. For those of you that don’t know about the game, firstly I would like to ask you why you have been hiding your head under the rock in your back yard. Then I would explain to you that it is a virtual reality game in which you “mine” for various objects, (wood, hay, stubble…) build great works of architectural achievement, (no I’m not kidding! Check out the link for reference) all the while fighting away the bogeys that come out at night. When I first heard of the game, I was amazed at the various things that one might do in this virtual land where you can build anything. I even downloaded an app version for my phone and began mining away. It became fun digging deep into the earth, making tunnels, and I became kinda addicted to it. I built a really cool underground bunker, but could not save my work because the free version would erase whatever one built whenever the app closed. I was even tempted to buy the full version in order to build to my heart’s contentment, and also have the ability to save my creations.
Then I began to think… all that work for such little gain. I mean, seriously, when you power down the program, what are you left with? A blank screen staring you back in the face. Until you power it back up again, you are in what we like to call the “real world.”
Then I began to think some more. Games have gotten so advanced. Those that are in the gaming community will know that online universes such as E.V.E. take days to “travel” the expanse of the game, have their own currencies and exchange rates (for real money!). You can really become whatever you desire to be in these games! You can be an elvish Lord in Warcraft, or kill a dragon in Skyrim! There are a host of online RPG (Role Playing Games) that one can choose from…check it out! You can even become addicted to these games, exchanging reality for virtual reality; and to be honest, who wouldn’t like to be someone else doing something different for a change!
But again…when you turn it off… you end up staring at a blank screen. And you can’t help but realize, its only a matter of time until the game ends. Until a disaster happens and you miss the save button, your hard drive gets wiped, or your fail safes fail to save. It’s the second law of thermodynamics, right? The law of entropy that tells us everything within a set system must come to an end…
And that brings into question this life, itself! You may have been reading this article all along thinking “Those poor RPG fools. They cannot see that there is a REAL world out there! Made to conquer, to live, to explore!” But the law applies to the “real world” as well! The old man sitting by the fire in the castle that he has built for himself is no different than the boy who has created a virtual Valhalla for himself out of Minecraft bricks. He will die, and he will not be able to enjoy his material kingdom anymore.
That’s why Jesus tells us in Matthew 6-7 to forget about collecting/building our “stuff” on earth. They can’t last. He tells us to forget about what we cloth ourselves in…the moth will get them (or we will grow out of them, as was my case) in the end. (Funny story, I had this awesome Ninja Turtle shirt back in the day… until I used it to put out a fire.) The only treasures that we can enjoy forever are those that the law of entropy can’t touch.
So I guess it might be fun, escaping once in a while to build a wicked cool palace in Minecraft. It might be neat to work hard, save hard, and have that condo in Florida to sit around in. But after a while, shouldn’t we get back to building things for the REAL world?