Carollyn Lee Peerman ~ Guest Writer
Have you ever played the game of Monopoly? Isn’t it great to grasp the sense of power that goes along with being Master of the Board? Your tenacity and success at gaining all of that stuff. “All those houses and hotels. All that property–Boardwalk and Park Place, the railroads and the utility companies. All those thousands of dollars. WHEN THE GAME IS OVER, IT ALL GOES BACK IN THE BOX,” wrote John Ortberg, author of If You Want to Walk On Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat.
Sometimes you just don’t want it all to go back in the box. So what is the lesson that some of the smartest people in the world forget? What is the biggest lesson that life has to teach? Well, here is the predicament that you face: repeatedly you lose sight of what is important and what isn’t. What is important is the absolute necessity of arranging your life around what matters in light of your mortality and eternity.
Are you racing around the Boardwalk with shallow relationships, frenzied schedules, and a preoccupied soul? Are you focusing on more rungs to climb, more money to be made, and more deals to pull off? Are the temporary rewards that you receive lulling you into a hazy dream that the game will never end? Possessions, money, looks, and power–they are all on loan. They do not belong to you. The game doesn’t last forever. Not for me. Not for you. They all go back in the box.
“Plato said that the entire task of philosophy can be summed up as melete thanatou–
“mindfulness of death.” Steve Jobs put it this way: “Death’s eminence is a great deterrent to complacency.”
Did you know that in Jerusalem there are hundreds of synagogues that have been built by Jews from around the world? One synagogue was built by a group from Budapest. They had a coffin built into the wall. There is nobody in it. The coffin is present as a silent witness to remind you that it all goes back in the box.
John Ortberg wrote in his book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, “The Talmud teaches that every person should fully repent one day before his death. When a visitor asked, ‘But how will I know when that day is?’ he was told: ‘Treat every day as if it were the day before your last.’ Arrange your life around what matters most.
Starting today. The box will wait.” Ask what really matters. You have to come to a clear understanding about what is temporal and what is eternal. You have to decide after long thought what you believe counts as winning and losing in life.