I love to play ping-pong. I can play all day and never keep score. There is something about the rhythm of the ball on the table on the paddle that allows me to lose myself in the pure joy of playing the game.
Throwing a Frisbee is like that for me too. It has a mystical quality as it floats through the air.
I was with a group of people one time who were playing volleyball. I suggested that we not keep score. One of the other players said to me, “If you don’t keep score, what’s the point of playing the game?” I didn’t say it then, but the point of playing the game is the joy of it. Most of us have a deep-rooted compulsion to keep score.
Baseball takes this to extremes as the most statistically analyzed game in history. There is the score, but then there are the ip’s, the RBI’s, the avg’s, the h’s, r’s and e’s.
Keeping score tells us how we compare, measure up and fill the bill. This compulsion is not limited to sports.
Several years ago, Newsweek magazine reported about a corporate merger and described the “players” in this huge transaction.
“Asked what his proudest achievement was last week, (Tom_ Murphy (CEO of Capital Cities ABC that sold to Disney for $19 billion) readily confessed in a TV interview: ‘Money is how I’ve always kept score.’” (Newsweek, August 14, 1995, 24)
There more to life than keeping score. The Bible calls it grace. When the Apostle Paul wrote the book of Romans, he declared, “they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 3:24 NRSV)
As a way of life, keeping score ends badly, everyone loses. Love is life without keeping score. Jesus is God not keeping score. That CEO was not thinking in theological terms when he made that statement.
We must. The alternative to grace is keeping score – and that is a losing proposition.