Consider the pawn from the game of chess. He doesn’t decide where he goes. He serves at the pleasure of his master. He can’t attack straight ahead, only diagonally. He can’t go backwards. If he doesn’t give up his life in the game, he gives it up when he makes it to the end for a more powerful player to get back in the game. He is constantly under the pressure of attack from any direction on the board by a Bishop, Queen, Rook or even a Crazy Horse, because he is in a battle. Hmmm. Following Jesus makes me more like a pawn, than any other piece on the chessboard. Recently, Celia and I have stumbled into situations, bumped into people in places we decided to go at the last minute and it has become increasingly obvious that we, like pawns, serve at the pleasure of our Master. He is orchestrating, protecting, moving, touching lives all around us and often chooses to use us in ways beyond our understanding to achieve a greater, eternal goal. I say about my faith to others, I have surrendered or trusted my life to Jesus Christ. However, when He moves me into places where I’m not comfortable or later understand I wasn’t there for me, am I still okay with trusting my life to Him?
In living my life surrendered to The Master, trusting Him and His ways, there are some things I observe from the pawn, which should be true of me:
- Pawns are not in control; they’re moved by the hand of their Master to achieve His purposes. (Psalm 37:23)
- Pawns have limitations. A Good Master understands and directs the steps of their lives in context of a larger battle, often planning the steps of a pawn several moves ahead of their next step. (Psalm 139:16)
- Pawns play on the battlefield; for a pawn Bishops, Knights, Rooks, Queens and Kings look a lot like “evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world…those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world” (Ephesians 6:12).
- Pawns give their lives for others, for their Master. (John 15:12-13)
- Pawns get to be a part of a much more beautiful plan than they would ever dare to ask or hope. (Ephesians 3:20)
The last point has been real for me recently. Being a pawn used by the Master has been sweet. I’ve been thrilled to see His hand moving in the lives of others, making changes of heart that I could never achieve. Jesus has moved in a way, that I was able to see the “goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (Psalm 37:13). The surrender, trusting The Master with my life is worth it. A small, limited role, like a pawn’s in the hand of The Master, is better than trying to direct my own steps.
“I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.” (Psalm 84:10 NLT)