I am someone who enjoys playing video games, I find myself playing them for very long portions of the day sometimes! But while playing one recently I got the idea for this sermon, because there were several things about it that struck me as interesting or really made me think.
I was playing a popular game that allows you to create and build virtual people and then create a life for them, they can have a career, a family, go on holidays and write books and so on… The most vivid description I could think of is in the title ‘Dolls House’, albeit this one is a lot fancier.
There were a number of things that struck me and I’ll tell you what they were before going into this Jedi’s observations of each.
You could give your character ‘perks’ if you completed certain tasks with one of those being the purchasing of new items (with you in-game money).
There was a great demand to ensure that everything that one might need to do around the house was done.
For brevity I shall leave it there at those two observations, they seemed to be the most prominent to me with the third being the one which actually inspired me to get about and write this as the topic for the sermon!
The game, by default, is set on a progressive path of gain. While it is perfectly possible to have side-ways growth (never buying anything or advancing in career) this doesn’t seem to be the object of the game at all. The game pushes you to get ‘better’, you start out with a small amount of money, not poor, you are like a first time-buyer. Then you get a job and buy a few needed things etc. Then after a while you get a bit better, you have a few stronger work relationships and so on. So what do you do? Well… you buy new things or work for the promotion.
The game seemed geared towards ‘advancing’ to some ‘end’ though when you got there nothing actually ended - you just had to find something else to do.
Those of you who have been here a while will understand this cycle and where it leads. For lack of a better term we will call this Materialist Acclimatisation – the act of pursuing material objects and becoming accustomed to their presence once they have been obtained. A whole collection of sermons can be done on just that topic alone so I will continue past.
My second observation was the demand on my character to ensure that things around the house were kept tidy and clean etc. Now this isn’t anything I am going to criticise on because, for me at least, this was a more profound revelation.
In between having to wake up and going to work there were a number of additional things that I might need to do. These include such household tasks as cleaning, washing and practicing whatever extra-curricular activity I might pursue – such as painting, playing an instrument or writing.
What struck me was that I was able to complete all of those required tasks pretty easily, they weren’t stopping me going about my day.
What made me begin thinking though was applying this to my own life. There are always a number of things that I might need doing, from washing up, to washing clothes, to reading books and writing things for the Temple. I’m sure you have a number of things that you also might need doing, tidying your room, checking the car’s oil, fixing the shelf, weeding the garden, painting the room etc.
What I realised about these sorts of things is that they really aren’t an obstacle, they might seem to pile up, but half the challenge is in our mind. It seems so much easier to put them off when we think that they are non-essential, but if we actually went about and did them we would find that we could get through them very quickly!
I just found myself, doing these things easily on my computer game, and then sitting there wondering why I didn’t just go and get these real-life chores done?! And once I began doing them, now that I had mind to do them, I realised that they didn’t really slow my day down at all. I wasn’t fighting them into my day, I was making them a part of my day.
Ideas can come from the most unexpected places – maybe I should play more video games!
So that’s what I learned from playing this game, that’s what I observed. It makes me think that something can be learned from anything, if you can’t find the lesson then perhaps you aren’t looking hard enough! But either way, this gave me some revelations and I’ve shared those with you today.