“The Box”
Luke 12:13-21

Pastor Todd BuurstraMy Dad had just gotten out of jail.
He blew on the dice before he rolled them for good luck saying, St. James Place, baby, St. James Place. He let them go and landed right on it. Hey, hey! he exclaimed. For that was all that he needed to own the entire purple and orange sections of the board. Immediately he handed me just under $3K for houses and hotels on all six. As the banker I heaved a deep sigh, checked his money count, and he plopped a red hotel on St Charles, States Ave, Virginia Ave, St. James Place, Tennessee and New York Aves. I was doomed.

Ten year-old Todd was on the powder blue Connecticut Ave. If I rolled a 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, or 10, I was done. I would have to sell both of my hotels on Mediterranean and Baltic Aves. to pay my rent. My only hope was to land on Chance to get a card and somehow land in jail (which would only postpone my agony) or miraculously get to skip my race car over his line of six hotels to land on his Boardwalk where there was only one house at the moment for a rent of $200. I too, blew on the dice and landed on Chance! I picked up my card…and groaned. I was sent to the orange St. James Place—which cost me everything. Dad was, again, Master of the Board—I, his not so humble servant.

(I owe today’s application of Monopoly to our culture to John Ortberg.)

As exciting, not to mention time-consuming, as a game of Monopoly is, it’s just a
game. I mean if the elders had promised every attendee $1000 today, but when it was passed out you noticed that it was just fake, Monopoly money, you’d be disappointed!

But in our affluenza culture we forget that it all goes back in the box.

Like Jesus’ rich fool we act as if life consists in the abundance of possessions. One thing that my Master of the Board father taught me is that in Monopoly you take a risk and buy up everything you land on, mortgage your other properties to the hilt, if you have to, because the person with the most houses, properties, and money wins.

Isn’t that the weakness of our culture? Isn’t that why we have a housing crisis right now veering towards recession because people are mortgaged to the hilt? Folks have a 2000 square foot paycheck trying to live in a 3000 square foot house. Isn’t this why MP3 players just don’t cut it anymore; one needs an ipod, or an iphone? Because in the end, our culture says,the one with the biggest house, most toys, and most money wins.

But perhaps the greatest lesson from Monopoly is that it all goes back in the box. The affluenza, acquisitive lifestyle comes to an end. Jesus said it this way:

You fool! This very night your life is demanded of you.
And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?

There is a synagogue in Budapest that had an empty coffin built right into the wall to remind all worshipers that it all goes back into the box. Jesus summarizes:

So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.

How can we become rich toward God? How can we invest in things that last? I’ve asked David Mojica to come forward and remind us of God’s church plant vision for us and give an early report of what God is doing. This is really an eternal investment.

Friends, the last two years God has given us a budgetary Get Out of Jail Free card because we have not had a full-time Pastor of Discipleship. Our free ride is over in ’08. If we are going to become rich toward God by investing in that which lasts, like the plant, then we’ll need to give more generously than ever before. Will you spend less on that which goes back in the box in order to give to that which lasts in ’08?