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When the game is over, it all goes back in the box.

I read an interesting article the other day entitled: “When the game is over, it all goes back in the box.” The author of the article used the analogy of a board game to compare with our human lifespan. His point is to demonstrate that life moves toward a goal and we ought to arrange our lives around what matters most because we all know that the game of life will one day come to an end.

One of the games he spoke about was Monopoly, a game in which you strategize, take risks, accumulate wealth and property and finally have a winner. Then what happens? Well when the game is done, even if you have managed to win the game, everything goes back in the box! Monopoly then serves as an interesting metaphor to remind us that when the game of life is over, our body is placed in the coffin for burial. Death levels us all, however successful we have been! This somewhat depressing thought provides us with a sobering reality check.

Our life on earth is not going to last forever and because it is short, and because it goes oh so fast, getting our strategies and priorities right while we are in the game really matters. If we go back to Monopoly for a moment, we know that players go round the board seeking to accumulate as much property as possible, especially the high value properties, as well as keeping enough money in the bank to comfortably cope with any pitfalls along the way. Competitors bring different attitudes to the game. Some are ruthless, whilst others are generous in spirit or overly cautious in spending. However, the point here is that we have our priorities and strategies for winning the game. It’s the same with life; we need to decide for ourselves what really matters. Whether life is about the accumulation of stuff or the building, maintaining and cherishing of relationships. It’s about what we really value, for as Jesus said: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”(Matthew 6:21).

So when our game is over and all is done, what will our lives have amounted to? What legacy will we leave? Jesus addressed this by telling the story of a rich farmer who worked hard, increased his assets and prepared for his retirement, only to die before he could enjoy the fruits of his labour. The problem in the end, according to Jesus was that he was not “rich towards God.” He had lived for the temporal, not the eternal but critically forgot that life is temporal and when it’s over, it all goes back in the box. The tragedy was that he had finally gained all he longed for, only to lose it at a stroke!

When life is over, it all goes back in the box! Or does it? The Christian message tells us that this is not the end of the game. In fact, when they cut Jesus down from the cross and put him in the empty tomb, most people thought that was it, but it wasn’t! Three days later, he came out of that tomb and showed himself alive to over five hundred different people at different times over the course of forty days. He lives! And because He lives, we can live also, not just for now, but forever. To “win” life forever, all we need to do, is trust in His sacrifice for us on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. That’s the simple “rule” of God’s game of life – “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved”! (Acts 16:31).

 (John Winter - Article written for and published the Whitby Gazette, June 2015. Quotes from When the Game is Over it all goes back in the box - © John Ortberg 2019 | Privacy Policy ).

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