The Game of Chess

Chess is a game that I love.

It is a fascinating game that gets you thinking. Every move you do counts, from the very start of the game to your opening. But, to play chess, you must first know and understand, at the very least, the basics – what the pieces can do and what the purpose is. 

For some time you might be stuck there, and it may even be hard and get boring. You then might stop playing, but you wouldn’t progress if you don’t play again. 

But after that, if you keep playing, and learning from different sources, you’ll start to learn the opening moves (how to open), or the checkmate to avoid getting mated. Repeatedly playing would improve your skills, and, in most circumstances, as you play more and more chess you will naturally get better at it and enjoy it; being able to predict, and learning how to counter things, thus understanding it even more. 

It is so interesting how every single game is different to the other, but they all have one goal, and they all share the same principles – such as the pieces are always the same and start the same, but they will always end differently. 

Chess needs a strategy to win. You may be thinking, “Where is this going?” 

Personally, how I view it, is that these principles apply to everything, even our lives. You may be wondering, “How does learning chess and getting better at it have to do with me and my life?” Well…..

If you really think about it, the fact that “you must know and understand the basics – what the pieces can do and what the purpose is – before you start playing, is relevant to all things in life. 

To do things correctly, you must be able to first understand the basics and learn.

As a baby you would learn to suck, then to bite, then to chew. Everything occurs gradually. Similarly, we would learn the fundamental skills in movements, starting from moving our legs, our arms, then starting to crawl. Just like how “playing more and more chess means you will naturally get better at it and enjoy it more”, a child who walks more, will soon get jogging, to running, to skipping and so on. As we grow older we will improve these skills and we will start to play sports, exercise and get moving. 

One thing at a time, but the more you do it, the better you get at it, and getting better naturally means enjoying it more. Such as talking – when you were younger, I bet you couldn’t talk as well as you do now, but naturally you got better, from the amount of times you talked and the books you read. Everything contributed to it.

How I view it, our Christian life is quite similar. You may be thinking “what in the world…” but before you complain, hear me out. You may have never thought of it in this way, but that is why I’m currently bringing it up as a new perspective. 

As a new Christian, you would first learn why being a Christian is so important, and what the end goal is. But after that, you might get stuck, or you might have spiritual dryness and stop growing in faith, and that is where the Bible comes in. 

The Bible is so, so, important. 

In chess, it is like slowly learning what the chess pieces are – essential and crucial to the whole game, but in this case, it is for our whole life. It may be hard and boring, and seem so long and non-understandable. You may feel like you could be more effective in doing other things, but with persistence, you will slowly, very slowly, grow. 

Grow in knowledge, in faith, in wisdom, everything. As time passes, and the more you read and meditate on the Scripture, the more equipped you are, against sin and against this world. The more you can “predict” the temptations, the more you will be able to “deal” with them. 

Our life has a single goal, just as chess has a single goal, but to win or to succeed you must have a strategy. To do that, you must understand fully and completely what this life is about; our purpose but from a Christian perspective. To do that, you need to read the Bible. 

Without reading the Bible, living life is like playing chess without knowing what the pieces do –  will it not be extremely difficult and nearly impossible to do? 

That is how important the Bible is for us Christians.

Emily Santoso (14) is a writer for RE Generation-Z. Through serving in this community she hopes to build her personal relationship with God and challenge others to do the same. She enjoys playing basketball, listening to music and socialising.

What We Value

Have you ever wondered why money, something paperlike, so valued and important in one’s life?

Just think about it, why is gold treasured so much? It’s just metal, or to be specific, less reactive metal. I’m sure there are plenty of other metals, but why gold? This thought had appealed to me this morning while I was in the car on the way to church, so I asked my dad, 

“Why is this specific type of metal so important; technically it’s just metal, and there’s so much of it. Why do people find it so valuable?”

My dad answered, “Because it is rare.” 

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that paper is technically just paper and plastic –  it can burn, it can get lost, it can get crippled up and ripped, yet why do we treasure it so much? 

Wouldn’t water be more important for us? Food? Yet why is it so cheap and less valuable compared with Gold or Silver?

If you think about it, Gold is nothing more than something yellowish colored and that’s a solid –  no special thing about it, yet miners work so hard to find them. If you expand on this, it’ll make more sense. 

Maybe you find joy in your grades, and so you work very hard and study diligently, but for what? For a 100% mark that your teacher gives you. If not, you’d be upset. Why is that? I could easily write “100%” in red on your paper and give it to you, but it’d just be different, right? 

What you think matters a lot, is something that is probably  set by society, your looks, your colour, your fashion, or your handwriting even. Those are the things that society do, but you make your values. You think that by achieving them it can make you happy but in reality, it’s just you, basing your own joy on something that isn’t essential or stable. For some it could be friends, or social media, but let me tell you this -if you base your happiness on these things, if you value these things more than you do God, then you will never be happy. 

Everything changes and will never remain the same. Except for you know who – God. You may have heard this like a hundred times, and so have I; but even with the countless times I get told, I sometimes still prioritize and value earthly things more.

As it says in Matthew 6:19-20,

“19: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth. and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” 

Why would you work so hard, get good grades, study, have a career, just to get loads of money, then after that is death. Money can be stolen, money can get burned, and it is important for us as Christians to remember that we are not of this world, because after we die, it doesn’t stop there. Earthly riches are nothing, for they are just things we humans value for some reason or other. 

But why is it that we work that hard to satisfy ourselves, make ourselves happy, but then become lazy when its about “God”. The truth is we can do both – we can satisfy ourselves and make ourselves happy by working hard for God, for we were created under His will and our purpose is what He sets us to be, not what we decide. 

Us fully trusting in him and fulfilling our purpose, is the happiest version of ourselves. 

Happiness other than that will never fully satisfy.

Emily Santoso (14) is a writer for RE Generation-Z. Through serving in this community she hopes to build her personal relationship with God and challenge others to do the same. She enjoys playing basketball, listening to music and socialising.

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