Have you ever played one of the Mario Party games? You race around a game board, competing against your fellow players in different mini games to win Stars. And whoever has the most Stars at the end of the game wins.

Sounds pretty simple, right? But it’s not really, because sometimes random events occur in the game, meaning you can lose your hard-earned Stars to another player at any time.

It’s especially frustrating at the end of Mario Party, when the dreaded roulette wheel pops up. One wrong spin on that roulette wheel, and all of your Stars wind up with someone else. And there’s nothing else you can do, because it’s the end of the game. Someone else wins the whole thing, and you’re left standing there empty handed, wondering what just happened.

Just think about that for a minute– you work so hard, scoring first place in a bunch of the mini games. You think you’re winning, but you still wind up losing everything. Is it any wonder that people find that frustrating? Sometimes I’m amazed that Mario Party is as popular as it is with an outcome like that.

And yeah, I know it’s just a game, and it doesn’t really matter all that much in the grand scheme of things. But what if that’s how life is too? What if you can think you’re doing everything “right”, only to find that at the end, everything you thought was so important was stripped away from you?

What are the Stars you’re counting on impressing God with at the end of your life? Is it money? Is it your fancy car and your luxury home? Is it your job? Or your position in society? Or maybe you think that because you have lots of family and friends surrounding you that means you’re #blessed?

Being blessed in God’s eyes isn’t the same as being blessed in the world’s eyes. Jesus said in the book of Matthew, “Blessed are the poor, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are the meek, blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness.” But somehow people still think that means that having the good life here on Earth is what His blessing is all about. And maybe sometimes, it is. But maybe, a whole lot more than we like to think, it isn’t like that at all. Maybe heaven is filled with sinners and outcasts, not the people who look like they stepped out of a Gap ad and make sure to always vote Republican.

Because maybe God’s heart isn’t with the people who think they’re #blessed. Maybe God’s heart is with the broken-hearted, the lonely, and the lost. Those are the people who He sent Jesus down to die for. And they’re the ones who are truly blessed, because they know the price of sin and suffering, and one day they’re going to share in a joy unlike anything you will ever find here on Earth. Because you can’t know the morning sunrise until you pass through the pain of the darkest midnight first.  

The good news is, if you are one of those lost and overlooked people, you can take heart. Even if you feel like no one else sees you, God sees you, and He loves you. He wants you to know that He cares about you, and He wants to be with you. It breaks His heart that sin separates you from Him, because He made you. He wants you to come to Him, through Christ. He wants to heal your broken heart, and make you whole again. I know, because He did the same thing for me. He took me out of the darkness and brought me into the light. And in doing that, He made me into a light for other people too. And that’s what being blessed is all about, not any material thing. 

Because Jesus is the true Star in all of this, and once you belong to Him, that’s one Star that can never be taken away from you. And at the end of the game, you’re going to win more than you ever thought possible. You won’t be an outcast anymore. You’ll live forever with Him. If you mourned on Earth, you’ll laugh in heaven. And all of the pain of darkness will be swallowed up by His healing light.

Isn’t that worth more than a #blessed life that’s going to fade away into nothing?

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