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Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Put Everything Back in the Box"

Some time ago I attended the memorial service of a long time friend and a former member of the  church where I served as pastor for many years. As a part of his funeral message, Dick Blackwell shared the story of a child who often played Monopoly with his mom. Most of the time she was the clear winner, with her son being the sad loser.

Finally one day, as he became more savvy at the game, he had the satisfaction of coming out on top, with the most hotels, a couple of railroads, the electric company, and other properties and cash.

Then his mother said, as she always did, “Now we have to put everything back in the box.”

The boy's response was, “But I don’t want to. I want to just keep everything I’ve gained on the board.”

But she insisted, “No, when the game is over, we have to put everything back in the box.”

As I was hearing the story I couldn’t keep my eyes off of my friend’s flower covered casket in the front of us. I thought to myself, that is literally where they will put all that's physically left of us when our short time here is over. There will be no U-Hauls carrying our possessions behind the hearse that takes us to cemetery. Everything will have to be boxed up and put away.

Bottom line: The only thing we can claim as being ours forever is what we’ve given away, invested in the lives of others in need who will be blessed by how we’ve shared with them.

And through whatever legacy of influence we leave with our children and others.

It's what Jesus referred to as “treasure in heaven.”

P.S. There is book by John Ortberg entitled "When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box," where this story can be found. http://www.amazon.com/When-Game-Over-Goes-Back/dp/0310253500
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