I’d like to tell you a story about two grasshopperswhose names were Springy and Leapy.
Now I don’t know how much you know about grasshoppers. But you probably know more than me. What you should know is that grasshoppers love to jump, and leap, and spring about, going from place to place.However, what you may not know is that grasshoppers love to play games. And their all-time favourite game is Tiddlywinks.
“Tiddlywinks”, I hear you say, “Who here has heard of Tiddlywinks?” Well Tiddlywinks was a very popular game when I was a child. And the idea is that you start with a “wink” and with your “squidger” you flick your “wink”. And you do it a number of times until you get your “wink” it into the “pot”. It’s a competitive game, it takes a least two to play, and you take it in turns. And the winner is either the one who flicks their six “winks” into the “pot” first. Or after a set period, the one who scores the most “Tiddlies” (or points), depending upon where the “winks” are in the game.
Now as you can imagine Tiddlywinks is a very suitable game for grasshoppers, because they love to jump, and leap and spring. And that’s exactly what happens to the “winks” in Tiddlywinks. But Tiddlywinks isn’t just a game that grasshoppers like to play,it’s a game they like to watch too.
Now one day both Springy and Leapy were playing in the Great Tiddlywinks Competition. And they had both done so well that they found themselves in the final – playing against one another.
Now to start with everything was going quite smoothly. Indeed they had each got their first three “winks” into the “pot”. The problem was, though, that they were great competitors. Neither liked to lose.And as the game progressed, things started to get a little tense. And the crowd were getting a little tense too
And it wasn’t helped when Springy did a thing called a “squop”. He landed his “wink” on top of one of Leapy’s “winks”. Which meant that Leapy couldn’t play his “wink” until Springy had moved his own.
Well you should have heard the crowd. And you should have seen Leapy’s parents. If you’ve ever been to a school football match and heard some of the parents, I think you’ll get some idea of what happened next. And sadly, the game washalted until after Leapy’s father had been removed from the arena.
Eventually, however, things calmed down, and the play continued. Both Springy and Leapy managed to get their fourth “wink” in. And everything was going well, when Leapy did a “scrunge”.
Now at this stage you’re probably thinking “his making all this up. Even the words don’t make sense”. However I assure you, I had to do a lot of homework on this story. Andthe internet lists some of the terms used by both the English and North American Tiddlywinks Associations. And a “scrunge” is when a player’s “wink” bounces off the “pot”.
The problem was, however, not just that Leapy did a “scrunge”, but that he did it as the whistle blew for the end of the game. The 25 minutes, the time allotted for serious competitions, was over. And now it was time to see who had the most “tiddlies” (points).
Well Leapy knew he had lost. He had needed that “wink” in the “pot” to win the game. But was he happy about losing? No, he was not. And he showed it. And you can imagine the scene as he jumped up and down, as only an angry grasshopper can do.
Later, at the press conference, both Springy and Leapy were asked about the game. Leapy in particular was asked whether he had been embarrassed about his father’s behaviour. He was asked where he had got his temper from. But all he could say was that his father wasn’t so bad, that it was a one-off thing and would never happen again. He came up with a variety of excuses for his own behaviour too.
And so the Great Tiddlywink Competition came to an end. Springy had won. But his victory had been spoiled by some very bad behaviour.
Now of course there is a moral to this story. And it’s not just the need to be careful playing Tiddlywinks with grasshoppers. It’s not even the need to be alert when watching grasshoppers play. The moral of this story is that whoever is playing a game – grasshoppers or us – there are right ways to behave, and there are wrong ways. There are also good role models and there are bad.
Now we all make mistakes, we all have our moments. But the important thing in life is to live in a godly way, as Jesus would want us to behave. Not to get mad because we don’t get our way.
Because as far as God is concerned, there’s nothing wrong with winning. It’s good to win. But there’s nothing wrong with losing either. It’s not a matter of whether we are better than someone else, but it’s how we play the game. And that’s something that Leapy, and his father, had no real idea about at all. But do you?
© 2015, Brian A Curtis