Christians shouldn’t play monopoly. It’s not good for the soul. I’m not talking about the board game mind you, I’m talking about real life.
Because life is a game of monopoly and we’re all playing it.
My monopoly life and my Christian life.
Every month I pass ‘go’ and collect my salary. I go round and round the square buying various stuff, always paying my taxes and occasionally I find ‘free parking’.
That’s always a happy moment.
I’ve never had to get out of jail but just like monopoly, I’ve bought property.
And this month I’ve officially become a landlord. We’ve found a tenant for our two bedroom London flat.
So there are two words I find especially gratifying right now; land and lord.
Because owning a patch of this overcrowded planet immediately puts me in a privileged position.
The problem is fewer and fewer people are able to do this. But heh-ho, I possess a piece of the planet, and I’m Lord over it.
Oh, the power.
I carry a set of keys to a repeat revenue provider on an appreciating asset. That’s what I call a win/win.
Apart from one thing.
I’ve been feeling a bit uneasy. A little guilty.
The rules of monopoly are the rules of life.
Monopoly. That seemingly innocent game we all played as kids were really teaching us how to live. And how to get ahead.
The rules of the game are this; buy up as much as you can and beat everyone else to it.
That’s how you win and how you play the game in real life. You compete for jobs, for business and to get ahead of others.
That’s how you stay in control of your life.
Don’t try to change ‘the game’ because I’ll bet it’s changed you already. It changes all of us, subtly, unconsciously, guiding our decisions. We’re measuring ourselves by what we have and what we can control.
There’s a unique word for it; affluenca.
And some people have got the bug bad. That’s why I’m beginning to worry, am I catching it too?
A Monopoly parable for Christians.
For me, it brings to mind Jesus’ parable of the ‘rich fool’. (Luke 12:16-21). In it, a wealthy farmer with a bumper crop has nowhere to store his surplus. So he tears down his old barns to build bigger ones.
So now there’s enough there for him to live off for years.
He’s won the farmer’s lottery.
He decides to ‘take life easy. Eat drink and be merry’ (v19), enjoying his new found wealth. Wouldn’t you too? I know I would.
But the parable closes with a stark warning. ‘You fool, this very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ (v20).
You just never know how life can turn out. What unexpected thing can come along just when we think we’ve got it all sorted. The security and control we think we have are illusory. Life is really fragile and uncertain.
What game am I really living?
So in my new found ‘status’, I have to ask myself a deeper question. Am I focusing too much of my energy building bigger and bigger barns to keep more and more things or experiences?
Is my life focus split between acquiring things for today and the future rather than the larger and lasting things of God?
I hear the words of Jesus again, ‘you cannot serve both God and mammon.’ Luke 16:13. Mammon meaning material wealth.
So I’m feeling uneasy. But that’s no bad thing.
It’s time to take a break from playing the game every now and then. Or just not play by the rules.
The winner of monopoly is the one who controls all the properties and drives the others to ruin.
The so-called winner of life monopoly is the one who dies with the biggest bank account, the wealthiest life or the most fame. But the moment that life ends, what will be demanded of them?
What will have they left to carry into eternity?
I want my ‘treasures in heaven’ (Matthew 6:20) to be overflowing and abundant.
And yes, I will enjoy the good things of this life when they come along. But my attachment to them must be light, and ready to be put aside for the greatest blessing of all.
That is to know and live in Him.
Jeremy – Not Only Sundays.
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