Altogether wins

For all of the more than five decades we’ve been married, Ed and I have enjoyed playing board games. Out of respect for trade marks and their legal implications, I won’t name any but one of our favourites involves lining up numbers in sequence. Here’s the procedure: Dump all the game pieces into a well-scrubbed plastic bucket. Next, someone sticks their fist into the contents, scrambling them thoroughly in order to prevent the other player from picking up both “freebie pieces.” Each player then pulls out a designated number of pieces. After setting up, sputtering at, and arranging the pieces on the plastic stand that holds them (in between the times it tips), the game is about to begin. First, however, each person is allowed one or two comments regarding the pieces they chose: “Doubles, nothing but doubles!” is one example. “This is lousy,” is another common expression.

Now anyone who devotes any part of their life to these pursuits knows that some games depend solely on luck while others, on skill and a bit of finesse. The one just described incorporates a bit of both. Whatever the requirements, though, there is nothing more frustrating than losing with just one play left. I can’t describe the times when I’ve had just one number negate an entire game. The saying is true - “almost” doesn’t count except in horseshoes…and in this game.

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“Almost” really is a pain at times: almost arrived on time; almost passed the exam; or, almost caught the plane.

After listening to the Apostle Paul present the message of the gospel, King Agrippa cried out: “Paul, you almost persuade me to become a Christian.”   “King,” Paul replied, “I would to God you might become both almost and altogether ….”

(Acts 26:28, 29)

When it comes to enjoying God’s blessings, “altogether” always beats “almost!”

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