James Dobson once told a story of his grandmother and how she was the most accomplished, ruthless Monopoly player on the face of the earth.
Whenever she would visit, the family would dig out the Monopoly board, and, by the end of the game, she would take his very last dollar.
One year, a boy moved next door who was also an expert player and by the end of the summer, James was a Monopoly master.
When Grandma returned, he was ready for her. By the end of the game, he had taken her for everything she had. But while he was gloating, Grandma told him that he had one more lesson to learn about playing the game. She said that when the game is over, no matter what the outcome, it all goes back in the box.
In Ecclesiastes 1, King Solomon, one of the wisest and richest men who ever lived, reminds us of the futility of the accumulation of possessions.
“What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.” (Ecc 1: 3-4)
Again in chapter 12, he paints a rather depressing picture of the twilight years. He speaks of a time when our eyes grow dim and our ears cannot hear as well when the joints and muscles of even the strongest men weaken and they cannot stand straight.
In Luke, chapter 12, Jesus is confronted by a man who is squabbling with his brother over an inheritance. What was Jesus’ response?
“Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (LK 12: 14-15)
He goes on to tell a parable about a rich man who would tear down his barns to build bigger ones because he had amassed such abundant crops. He had good things to last him for years.
Jesus goes on to say, “But God said to him, You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ (LK 12: 20)
The rich man had enough to last him for years, yet would not live through the night. Most people would consider this to be rather depressing.
But to the Christian, they are just incidentals. The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (1 TIM 6: 6-8)
This doesn’t mean we have to live like paupers, but the true Christian keeps his priorities straight. They know that when it is all said and done, when your life is over, no matter how much or how little you may have accumulated, it all goes back in the box.