Don’t get so wrapped up in the game that you lose track of reality.
There’s a poignant moment in the movie All the Money in the World (2017), when billionaire J.Paul Getty, played by Christopher Plummer, realizes he’s had a profitable day in the stock market. The extra hundreds of millions of dollars cause the old baron’s face to light up. But when asked for the ransom money to pay his grandson’s kidnappers (a pittance compared to his total worth), he balks, then refuses, saying, “I have never been more vulnerable financially than I am right now.”
When people get more money than they could ever need, they seem to need every penny of it and more. They don’t feel rich; they feel poor. Wealth has an odd way of impoverishing the soul.
The amount of dollars and cents will never be enough to put our minds at ease. Only perspective can do that. And, in fact, there’s something above the game currently going on.
When Jesus ascended to heaven, all the angelic host praised and celebrated Him,
“saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!” (Rev. 5:12).
Why would Jesus need “wealth” after resurrecting and going to heaven? He certainly doesn’t need it. He Himself is unsearchably rich in spiritual reality, and Lord of all. What would He need to buy? There’s nothing for sale in heaven, yet we’re told in the verse that He rightfully deserves not only to be praised as rich, but to receive it, to have it all in His hand.
No, He doesn’t simply use money to fund missions, and build church facilities. As “Ruler of kings on earth” (Rev. 1:5), all the currency and markets are under His hand to harness it unto the Father’s end. He directs the rise and fall of markets, the valuation of legal tender, and even the complete devaluing of it. Some coinage, greedily sought after in times past, couldn’t buy a can of Coke today. And alternately, some currency that hadn’t existed for most of human history, suddenly seemed to appear, and become a dominant force (like the American dollar in April 2, 1792).
All of these money matters discipline the hearts of men, and nations.
When the Son of God finishes faithfully carrying out His Father’s business, He will melt all the riches of this world down to worthless slag.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Pet. 3:10)
He had all the wealth, He used it according to the will of God, and then disposed of it when done.
Think of it this way: the only time Monopoly money has any worth is during the few hours the game is being played. As Christian teacher John Ortberg once said, “When the game is over, it all goes back in the box.” Let the lid close, and everything suddenly becomes worthless. Those colored slips of paper only had a certain value for a short time. Even the glow of a so-called victory subsides and disappears, as the winner’s cash and tokens co-mingle with that of the losers.
Meanwhile, it’s an easy thing to be drawn into the drama of “the game”—of buying, selling, wheeling, and dealing, of passing Go, of relief at missing Boardwalk when others own it, and of exuberance at others landing there when you own it. Somebody hits it big, while somebody else sweats. But in a little while, everyone will sit at dead zero.
That’s why it makes sense as we’re playing, to keep looking beyond the game to the One who owns the board, the bank, the tokens, and the players.