Obsessed For The Glory Of God

Some of you out there think you’re good Scrabble players. You play the letter ‘X’ on a triple letter score, rack up 250 points in a game, and walk away feeling pretty good about yourself. Let me tell you straight up, you stink at Scrabble. Joel Sherman is good at Scrabble.

Sherman is a self-proclaimed professional Scrabble player, a man whose very existence revolves around playing and winning Scrabble. He has no job other than playing Scrabble. Joel lives off of disability, which allows him to devote all his waking time to playing, studying, and mastering the game of Scrabble. For several years he studied word lists on his computer for 1-2 hours a day, four days a week, so that he could master the game of Scrabble. Joel is obsessed with the game of Scrabble. In his own words, Scrabble, “…basically validates my existence.”

Joel Sherman doesn’t play Scrabble, he dominates Scrabble. Listen to this short excerpt from the book Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players. In this excerpt Joel is relaying how he won a particular game:

Joel breathlessly explains how he worked his way though a troubling opening rack in the 603-point game, why he kept the three vowels IIO to go with a blank, how he saw that he would be able to turn the word BICES into IBICES (the plural of IBEX), how he drew the second blank and was able to play VICHIES for 100 points.”

Joel’s obsession with Scrabble challenges me. All of his thought, and creativity, and energy are poured into a board game. I want to obsessed with pursuing the Lord like Joel is obsessed with the game of Scrabble. I want to study scripture like Joel Sherman studies word lists. It shames me that an unbeliever would love the game of Scrabble more than I love the God who died for me. If a non-Christian can be that passionate about a game, I should be infinitely more passionate about pursuing Christ, the source of all joy and satisfaction. I want all my thought, and energy, and devotion to be given to my Savior. I want to be obsessed for the glory of God.

Give me one pure and holy passion / give me one magnificent obsession / Jesus give me one glorious ambition for my life / to know and follow hard after you

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Originally published December, 2007


  • Stephen, that's so true. The Holy Spirit has been convicting me of this of late. I'm created to glorify God. I'm on this earth to point others to Him. Not to get what I want or gratify my own desires or dreams. I'm hear for Him.

  • David Wilson says:

    Great post Stephen.

    His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
    (John 2:17 ESV)

    Lord, make us zealous like your Son!

  • kateg says:

    I am not sure about this… I think that's how monks started out… wanting to leave regular life and "honor" God by studying and praying and doing nothing but finding how to know God better. Pretty soon they were much more spiritual than regular people, in regular jobs, with regular families…those regular things that God talks so much about stewarding and regular people God talks so much about loving. All of life is about God. "Therefore whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”…..

  • john says:

    Amen brother. To be so absorbed by THE Creator of everything…

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