Summary: Christ warned about the mindset of Monopoly, but all board games have some way to measure success: determining how you win or lose. How do measure success in how we live for Christ? How do we know whether we've actually stored up treasures in heaven?
Lead-in with the following video:
http://discoverychurch.com/messages/actually-win-losing/ (first 24 seconds)
How many of you have ever played Monopoly? (ask for a show of hands).
I hate the game. I never win.
However, Monopoly is one of the THE most popular games in the world.
As I did research for this sermon I found there are at least 900 different game variations centered around things like:
• TV shows (I Love Lucy)
• Movies (007/ Pirates of the Caribbean)
• Sports teams (NFL/NHL/NBA, and numerous college teams)
• Every branch of the Military.
• Various cities and nations throughout the world.
• Cartoons (Garfield/Fantastic Four)
• Singing groups (Beatles)
• And animals.
They have Monopoly games that feature horses, dogs, cats… and my personal favorite: “Hello Kitty”.
More than 275 million games have been sold worldwide and it’s available in 111 countries, in 43 languages.
The longest MONOPOLY game in history lasted for 70 straight days.
In 1978, the Neiman Marcus offered a chocolate version of the game priced at $600.
And the most expensive version of the game is valued at $2 million. The set features a 23-carat gold board and diamond-studded dice.
However, there's something worth noting here. Monopoly totally runs against the teachings of Jesus.
Jesus said: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
I’m pretty sure Monopoly is ALL about storing up treasures on earth. Buying houses & hotels and accumulating money is the main thing in this game. The name of the game is to establish a MONOPOLY – to monopolize and control everything on the board.
Now, why does Monopoly set those goals?
Well, because in every game we play we have to have a way of measuring success. In the board game Monopoly the way you measure success is by winning all the money; build houses and hotels on your properties, and pretty much beat the tar out of all the other players.
And in many ways, Monopoly reflects the mindset of this world
• Is my paycheck bigger than yours? I deserve more than him because I work harder, longer, etc.
• Is my job more important? He gets more but he couldn't do my job.
• Is my house bigger and grander than my neighbors?
• Is my car/my boat/my motorcycle – more powerful/more classy/more expensive?
• Etc. etc. etc.
Why do folks do that?
Because in the game of our lives we feel we have to have a way to measure success. How else will we know whether our lives have had meaning? How else will we know whether we've done things worthwhile?
Well Jesus said we need to measure our success this way:
“…store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Or – another way of saying it:
“…seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
Jesus isn't saying you can’t have a nice house or good car, or a great pay check. What He’s saying is: these are NOT how His people should measure success. Success for God’s people should NEVER be about comparing ourselves with others.
In fact Paul wrote: “…When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12b
When we end up trying to compare our lives with the lives of others, we show we’re not too smart.
So, how should I measure MY success in life? How can I know that my life has had meaning and purpose? How can I know that I have sought His kingdom and His righteousness?
Well, before I get to my answer this morning, I need to point out two ways you should not seek 1st His Kingdom and Righteousness. One of those ways was something the Pharisee were good at. The Pharisees were VERY religious people and they measured their success by their religiosity.
The following video humorously shows how Christians sometimes fall into that trap.
http://discoverychurch.com/messages/monopoly-wins-loses/ (first 1.06 minutes)
Notice what that preacher in the video did. He used his position in Christ to dominate the other players. A few of his statements:
• “Jesus would let me roll again”
• “Instead of paying rent… I’m going to pray for you. Because really, it’s just as good”
• “I’m the lead pastor and I get to say when I take another turn.”