I love the game of Monopoly – I actually prefer the older version – it’s a bit high tech for me now. If you’ve never played it, participants start out with the same amount of money and move around the board, landing on opportunities to purchase property. Some property is expensive; some is located in just the right spot to capture more rent than others; the more houses and hotels one fills the space with – the more “cha-ching!”
I’m pretty good at Monopoly and I love the fear in my opponent’s (usually family’s) eyes when they come around the corner of my property lane. Oh YES! I throw out such statements as, “Just go ahead and give me the rent. You know you are going to land on my space.” And I watch them painfully squirm.
(Such language from a Pastor, huh?)
What ends up happening, I’m the only one left. Everyone else has lost all their money; their property; their motivation. Being the only one left feels good for about 20 seconds, then I realize I have to clean the game up. I have to separate all the pieces, the money, the cards, and put the game back in the box. Suddenly, winning has a tremendous down side. While the rest of my family is in the kitchen eating ice cream and dogging me, I’m cleaning up the mess. At the end of the day, all the wealth, the hotels, the houses, the property, the money I worked so hard to acquire, meant nothing.
Now, Monopoly is a game. I get that. But how many of us put such an emphasis in real life? How many of us make wealth and possessions the center of our lives? How many of us at the end of the day, realize, we missed the point of life when we take that last and final breath?
Proverbs 23:5, “Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.”
Is it a sin to want nice things? No. God actually wants us to have the fullness of life. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
But when we want for riches and it becomes our god – when we are willing to put riches in the place of right and wrong, family, and at the center of our lives – that is when we are left alone, cleaning up the board when everyone else has gone to enjoy ice cream.
The real treasures in life, according to the Apostle Paul, are those we will see in eternity. I’ve often heard it said, “You can’t take anything with you when you go.” True. But there is something we take with us into eternity – relationships.
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
Maybe today you need to re-evaluate how you prioritize the “things” in your life. What is truly worthy of your focus?