Last night I was privileged to hear a great sermon by Brian Anderson on “Proper Priority, Focus, and Perspective.” It was an excellent look at the rich fool of Luke 12:13-21. One of his illustrations was about life and Monopoly. I told him I had to steal it and share it.
Monopoly is a great game. It can provide hours, days, perhaps weeks of fun. But you can learn some important lessons about life from it too.
The 5 Ways Monopoly is Too Much Like Our Lives
- It’s fun when we are winning and interminably miserable when we aren’t. When you walk up on a game of Monopoly, you know who’s winning immediately. That person is laughing and jovial and excited as he grabs money out of someone’s hand. You also know who is losing by the scowl, the frustration, the depressed look.
- Our identity comes from our possessions. I remember spending minutes trying to figure out which piece I would be–the top hat, the car, the cannon. Which one really represented who I am? We all know our lives shouldn’t be about our possessions, but all too often they are, aren’t they? What kind of car do I drive? What kind of clothes do I wear? What house do I live in? I can get so focused on these, I begin to think I am my things.
- Real estate is king. Well, maybe not in this down market. But let’s face it. It is going to bounce back and the people on top are the ones who took advantage of all the deals and own all the real estate. I’ve even heard that Ray Kroc explained that McDonald’s was not in the hamburger business but in the real estate business. He who owns the houses and hotels gets the goods.
- We keep score by comparing ourselves to others. We don’t win at Monopoly by crossing a finish line or by getting to a certain place first. We win by beating everyone else. We know who is winning not because of where anyone is at a certain time. We know they are winning because they are better off than someone else. In Monopoly, everything is a competition. Who has the most money, the most property, the most rent coming in?
- When the game is over it all goes back in the box. At the end, someone is declared a winner. Then all the property, all the houses, all the hotels, all the money goes back into the box. All the joy or depression of winning or losing no longer matters. After all, it was just a game and it all goes back in the box. None of that property or money really mattered. It didn’t make you a better person or a worse person. It all just goes back into the box.
I hope you realized that really this was all about point #5. Monopoly is like life. You can compete and keep score. You can invest and work and toil and gain. You can compare yourself to others. You can take what is others. You can be better than others in these worldly methods of scoring. You can get dividends, stocks, salary, rent, mortgages, real estate, houses, and hotels. You can write books and run businesses. You can get your face in the paper and your name in lights. You can get to the end and declare yourself a winner.
But then you die and it all goes into a box!
Sobering, isn’t it?
What games teach you lessons about life? Click here to add your input.
Addendum: After posting this, a friend let me know where this metaphor came from originally, John Ortberg’s When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box. I just thought I’d throw it out there for you. I haven’t read this book, but I think I might have to. Yes, these are affiliate links. If you like the illustration, you may want to read more about it.