Jumanji: Don’t waste your life
Find out how this classic movie remake can help you live a life of purpose.
A remake of the classic movie based on a board game, this popular holiday film is lots of fun and challenges us to think about what really matters. This time, instead of a board game, the deadly challenge becomes a video game and players are zapped onto the island as the avatars they have chosen. Tasked with the job of saving Jumanji in order to save themselves, four unlikely high school students must learn how to work together.
The big question that the movie asks is “What kind of person are you going to be?”. In the face of being put on detention in the real world and facing death in the game world, each character must answer that question. But I wonder how you would answer that question? Just like their experience in Jumanji has an impact on their lives, so too can watching this movie help us to reflect on our lives. So here are some parallels to consider:
1. Don’t waste your life
Upon entering the game, each player learns they only have three lives, and if they use them all it’s game over. One player had even been stuck in the game for 20 years, he had given up on getting out and just hid in an effort to preserve his final life. For us of course we only get one life to live (see Hebrews 9:27), so how can we make the most of it? Do we hide away just to survive? Do we strive for popularity, fame and riches? Do we dive into whatever makes us happy?
Well Paul, when writing to the Philippians from jail has a totally different perspective. He says:
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain —Philippians 1:21
For Paul, the most important thing is Jesus Christ. All meaning and purpose in his life comes from Jesus. So when he says “to live is Christ”, he is saying that no other thing in his life matters more, no study, no sport, no social life, nothing is more of a priority in his life than Jesus. Then he can even say that death is gain, because when you believe in Christ you have hope in death.
Not that he tries to die or even wants to die, but he knows that everyone will die one day and only Jesus offers eternal life in heaven. Anything else in this world, our stuff or achievements, are only temporary, live for Jesus is the only thing that will last. It’s like John Piper says:
“Only one life twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last”
However just like for the characters in the movie, the task would be too difficult on our own, we need help to not waste our lives.
2. Work Together
To aid them in the game, each character has various strengths (like speed and strength) and weaknesses (like cake). It is hilarious watching these different skills play out during the movie, with each person’s strengths helping them in their mission.
God has kindly granted each of us various gifts and strengths, different from those around us. These have been given so we can grow in Christ together and help each other through the challenges of life. We are not meant to live the Christian life alone, God has saved us into a family of believers to encourage us through the ups and downs. Paul again when he writes of how the church is like a body, made up of different parts, says:
“From Christ the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:16).
Since we are a part of God’s people, each with our own strengths and weaknesses, we must work together to help each other live for Christ.
Overall, Jumanji is a fun remake for a modern audience that challenges us not to waste our lives. So how will you make the most of your life? For only you only get one life that will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.