First, you only played with part of the deck—nothing below tens. Second, the ten was higher than the king. What? Who ever heard of such a thing? Plus, you played with two sets of each suit, not one. And that was just the beginning.
There were two point systems you had to learn, how to count meld and how to count the playoff. A jack in every suit was worth 4 points in the meld, but if you wound up with all of them after the playoff they were worth nothing. Two kings in every suit were worth 80 points meld, but was not a particularly good thing to have in your hand. You wound up giving about half of them to the other team—four points lost in the playoff. A “pinochle,” from which the game gets its name, is a queen of spades with a jack of diamonds. If you have one, it’s worth 4 meld points. A double pinochle is worth, not 8, but 30 points, far more than triple the single. Yet a triple pinochle is worth 90, exactly triple the double. And in the playoff? All three are worth nothing!
And the bidding! Figuring out how high to bid, especially when your partner was bidding too, was nerve wracking. You practically had to learn a secret language. Standard opening bid was 50. If you were the one who opened and you said 55, it meant you had 50 meld points and you did NOT want to call trump. If you had an ace in every suit plus another 20 points meld, you said “3,” which really meant “53,” unless someone bid before you, in which case you added three to his bid and left off the “fifty.” Once you passed 60, you had to increase your bid by fives.
And then there was the trump suit, which only the winning bidder could call, and he usually called his strongest suit, which was often his longest suit too, but not necessarily, because you could only count the meld points for a run in the trump suit, and if your meld was low, that was more important than how many were in the suit.
Here is the important thing about trumps: a trump card, even just a jack, beat anything else in the other suits, including aces.
Sometimes Christians stoop to playing what they believe is the trump card. “That offends me,” has become the sure-fire way to get what you want when others want something else. I wonder if people would do that if they realized what they were saying about themselves.
First, “offend,” sometimes translated “stumble,” doesn’t mean “I don’t like it,” or, “That hurt my feelings.” It means “to sin.” If you are being offended, you are sinning. That’s what the Greek word means, and that is why Jesus said if your hand “offends” you it would be better to cut it off than to go into hell with both hands. You are much better off without anything that causes you to sin. So if you are going to use “the trump card” you must admit that you are actively sinning about the issue under discussion.
Second, the strong must always yield to the weak, so if you expect everyone to yield to you, then you must admit that you are the weaker, less knowledgeable brother. I have yet to see any of my troublemaking brethren admit any such thing. God was eminently wise (are we surprised?) to put it exactly that way—the strong must always yield to the weak. Who is going to stand up and say, “I am weak and ignorant?” No, everyone will want to be the wise one, whether he is or not, and thus everyone will be yielding to everyone else--at least that is the way it is supposed to work.
So the next time you get your ego out of joint, or your feelings hurt, or you find yourself wanting things done your way and only your way because, after all, you are smarter than everyone else, remember those two things. “That offends me” may be a trump card, but you only get to play that card if you admit that you are sinning and that you are weak and ignorant of the scriptures. Any takers?
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me." Rom 15:1-3