It All Goes Back In the Box
Today I was listening to a leadership interview video, and one of the interviewers told this story that I thought was relevant for our day and the time we are living in right now. He told a story about a businesswoman who is also a grandmother and a ferocious Monopoly player. She was so competitive that she had great enjoyment in wiping her grandchildren off the map in the game of Monopoly. Her grandson, who was also ultra-competitive, was tired of getting beat by his grandmother. So he spent all summer learning and practicing how to play the game of Monopoly. The next time his grandmother came to visit he met her in the driveway and gave her a hug and said, “Hey grandma, how about a game of Monopoly?” Her eyes lit up, and off they went to start their game of Monopoly.
The grandson beat his grandmother for the first time; actually, he completely owned everything on the board and wiped her off the map as she often did to her grandchildren. The grandmother congratulated the grandson for a game well played and then said she would like to give him a life lesson. The grandson was eager to hear this life lesson from his grandmother, and what she said caught my attention today as we navigate these unsettling times. The life lesson that she gave was this: “At the end of the game it all goes back in the box.”
Meaning, everything that her grandson accumulated as he beat his grandmother in the game of Monopoly all goes back in the box. As we have had to slow down and press pause on our life because of COVID-19, how relevant is that lesson? What is it that you hold so dearly in your life? Is it all the material items that you own, or is it your relationships with people? This is the point that the grandmother was trying to teach her grandson. At the end of the game, it all goes back in the box, and all you have left is a relationship. This is exactly what Jesus was pointing out in Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (ESV)
What is it that you treasure: material items that will go back in the box at the end of the day, or do you treasure people and the relationships that you have with them today? What would happen if everyone would shift the amount of time and effort used to accumulate material items to building relationships with the people around you? What if we woke up each day and said, how can I love someone today? How can I serve someone today? I believe people are the treasures Jesus is referring to when he said, “lay up treasure in heaven.” If you continue to read the chapter, you will come to Jesus speaking about not being anxious (Matthew 6:25-35).
Within those verses is a wonderful promise is found that helps us in our efforts to shift our focus from material items to people. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Mat. 6:33,ESV) If we seek the kingdom of God first, then all those things that we need will be provided for us. Not big boats or nice cars, or big houses or riches or money; I am not promoting the prosperity gospel. The things that we truly need will be provided for us if our focus is on the kingdom of God.
The kingdom of God is about people -- people who have been reconciled to God through the work of Jesus. The only way this happens is if someone goes and shares the gospel. And the only way we will ever get an audience with someone who is in rebellion with God is to first love them as Christ loved us. Because we know that one day Jesus will return to bring his kingdom into full view, and he will literally put everything back in the box. And for those who are in Christ, they will enjoy the new heavens and the new earth, and the only thing that will be brought forward are the people. Would not our time here on earth be better spent loving people and building relationships with those whom you will spend eternity? I pray that you would take a moment and search your heart for the answer to that question and then act accordingly.