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Summary: This is a message about serving in the church

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Today we end our series on the games people play. Last week we looked at Solitaire. Solitaire is a great game to play, but it’s a terrible way to live. God’s intention for us is to “do life together”. Today we look at another popular game. Monopoly.

Monopoly was introduced in 1934 during the height of the great depression. The game was a wild success. The exciting promise of fame and fortune that the game seemed to offer its players made Monopoly a huge hit among the public.

In its 65 year history 200 million copies have been sold worldwide. It is the best selling game in all the world - sold in 80 countries and produced in 26 languages. The game has been copied and duplicated in all different special editions like Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Starwars, Nascar many more. Neiman Marcus even put out an all chocolate version of the game.

The longest game of Monopoly lasted – 70 straight days. World records have been broken – playing the game underwater (45 days) and in the bathtub (99 hours) and upside down (36 hours).

The most recent special edition of the game is called the America edition. The front cover of the box reads, “Celebrating, Life, liberty and the pursuit of Property.”

What about you? What are your Monopoly memories? What is your strategy? Do you by the railroads or the utility companies. Do you try to control the low rent district or do you go for the up town properties like boardwalk and park place.

Monopoly has one leg up on our previous game – Solitaire – in that - we do play it together – with friends. It can provide fun times for a family. It can’t be played alone. But the advantages of Monopoly over Solitaire end there. Monopoly is a great game to play, but it’s a terrible way to live as well. The underlying principle in Monopoly is to acquire property, gain riches and crush your fellow players.

The definition of success that the world around us has and the definition in the bible are two completely different things. Jesus tells a story in Luke 12, it’s a parable. He often used parables to make a point. He brought it down to everyday examples that people in his day could identify with and understand. John Ortberg, a pastor and author had the idea to take this parable in Luke 12 and tell it in a way Jesus might tell to us today. I’d like to try that this morning. I’ve taken some liberty, but you can read the story in Luke 12 later you’ll see that it’s all there.

Once there was a man. He had all the right degrees, from the right schools. He was determined to do whatever it took to succeed in the business world. And he did. He moved up the ladder fast. Everything he touched became wildly successful. He had all the right skills. He understood business principles. He had a great mind for technology. He was an extrovert, life of the party, type guy. The kind of guy that everybody likes. He made a great salary for his age. He had a great position. He drove the kind of car that said success and he lived in a big house in a prestigious neighborhood. He was consumed with work. He easily worked 12 and 14 hour days. He even worked on weekends. He joined professional organizations and boards of directors to increase his contact base. He was a networker. He knew everyone there was to know when it came to getting things done in the area.

Even when he wasn’t working, his mind would drift towards work – so it wasn’t just his occupation it was his preoccupation. He was vaguely aware that his kids were growing up without him and that he hardly spent any time with his wife anymore. He often missed ball games and dance recitals. His wife tried unsuccessfully to get him to slow down and pay attention to his kids. His kids tried too, they would beg him to play catch or go to the park or the swimming pool. But one day the requests from the kids just stopped. They knew the answer would be no, so they just quit asking.

He would tell himself, I’ll give more time to my family when things slow down a bit. He was a bright guy but he didn’t seem to notice that things never slowed down. He would justify it all, by saying “I’m doing it all for my family anyway. I’m doing it all for them. Aren’t”

One morning he awoke with a twinge in his chest. His wife made him go to the doctor and he found out he had a slight heart attack. In fact he also found out he had all the warning signs – elevated blood pressure – high cholesterol. The doctor said he needed to make some serious changes. For a while there was.

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