LESSONS FROM A CHESS SET
One of my favorite games to play, once upon a time, was chess. I still play it, although not as much as I used to. Admittedly, I’ll never be another Bobby Fischer, but it’s still good to flex one’s mental muscles now and then.
I got to thinking about chess sets recently, and it struck me that there are parallels between the chess pieces and the way we are called upon to live our lives as Christians. In case you don’t know what the chess pieces are, they are, in ascending order of power: Pawn, Knight, Bishop, Rook, Queen, and King.
PAWN: There are eight of them to a side in chess, and they represent the foot soldiers – if you will, the common people. They are the ones out advancing the Kingdom’s cause, with only one direction: forward. And even though their lives may be ones of endless drudgery and thanklessness, they can rise above the drudgery and be promoted to a new life in God.
KNIGHT: There are two to a side, and they are pieces of action. They do the king’s will and gladly move wherever he wishes them to go. Theirs is the active life of service to God, out in the trenches, full speed ahead.
BISHOP: Again, two to a side, and even though bishops are ordained clergy, to me – just as bishops were often powerful advisors to the nobility – the bishops represent the wise counselors, clergy or laity, who are there to guide us in our efforts to advance the Kingdom.
ROOK: Again, two to a side, and this piece is sometimes called the Castle. The castle was a refuge in which people would stay if things got too stressful outside. Also, castles were usually made out of stone – or rock. This is a reminder that when things get tough for us, we too can take refuge inside our Rock, Jesus.
QUEEN: Only one queen, and she is the most powerful piece in terms of movement. It’s well documented that in the Bible, the chief supporters of Jesus and His ministry were women – a reminder to all of us that in this battle to advance the Kingdom, the women are just as important as the men.
KING: Only one king, just as we have only one King. He is the most important piece, for if the king is lost, the battle is lost. But that’s chess, where the outcome is not predetermined; either side can win.
Unlike chess, though, the outcome has already been decided. When the King sacrificed Himself for us and rose again, that sealed the victory for God and all those who follow Him. We need not fear ultimate defeat as long as we put our trust in the King. Amen.