Back in the box

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20 NIV

In his book, “When the Game is Over, it All Goes Back in the Box,” John Ortberg uses game playing as a When the Game is Overmetaphor for what we value in life. Too often, we play the game and forget that in the end, everything goes back in the box.

What are you out to win? What value do you put on winning? What do you crave that is here today and gone tomorrow? What are the treasures you lay up in heaven?

In this six-session spiritual study on “living life in the light of eternity,” the section on, “No One Else Can Take Your Turn,” gave me a moment of clarity I must revisit from time to time. With the very best of intentions, I seek outcomes for others based on what I want, not want they want or even what they need.

Instead of trying to fix what (or who) I think is broken, my job and joy is to live my best life now. Instead of wishing I was as educated, talented, or well-respected as my friend, or brother, or cousin, I must make the most of God’s generous gifts to me. Every second counts, not because it could be my last, but because God’s love for me and his plan for me, are gifts I can open anew every day. No one can take my turn in life, nor can I take someone else’s.

I am reminded of a story I heard about a young man – we’ll call him Ed – who paid a proxy to attend college in his name. The proxy did all the studying, took all the tests, and did the “walk” to receive a diploma in Ed’s name. Ed thought he was clever to have someone do all the work. Ed was even able to get a job interview with a prestigious company based on his proxy’s performance and grades. The problem came when Ed had to speak for himself and prove his worth. In the end, his diploma had no value. He hadn’t lived the life of a student nor had he learned what he needed to know. He put his value on that piece of paper, not in an educational experience designed to sustain him.

I don’t get, nor do I want, a proxy to “do” life for me. I am well equipped by the Master Planner to live my best life now. Sometimes I forget that and try to worry my way to resolving the problems of loved ones or friends. When I’m doing that, guess whose life I’m missing out on?


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One thought on “Back in the box

  1. Being in a job designed to make me responsible for the well being of others, it’s especially important that I keep in my awareness the certainty that all I can do is point out choices to them, options they may not recognize, and then let the consequences follow as they may. I can never make those choices for anyone but myself. Your essay nicely reinforces that perspective for me, thank you.

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