Have you ever played Monopoly? If you’re like most Americans, you have. Interestingly, the game was created in the year 1903 by a woman named Elizabeth Magie, who wanted to showcase the evils being wrought by landlords and how they were taking advantage of tenants. Fascinatingly, it ended up having the opposite effect: it caused people to want to be landlords and to make money themselves. The game became a reflection of our society and how deeply we want, desire and trust in money.
John Ortberg tells a story about playing Monopoly with his Grandma when he was growing up, and how she would always win, taking every last house, railroad, and building. Determined to understand her strategy and to beat her, he set his focus on learning the game, with the intent of taking possession of everything on the board. His diligent study paid off when after a few months, he played his fiercest opponent again and took it all – every house, hotel, title, utility, railroad and dollar. After his victory, his Grandma acknowledged that he had learned the game well, but then she taught him yet another, more poignant lesson — that it all goes back in the box.
Isn’t that a profound thought? Although players come and go and there are always winners and losers, in the end, it all goes back in the box. The same applies to us today. Everything we possess that we are so proud of – titles, houses, cars and the fat bank account – we can’t take them with us when our bodies go into the box. At that point, what we have left is the stuff that really matters; the things that are eternal. Heavenly treasure is the only kind that can’t be contained by the box.