In the post, ★ Thought for the Day – Candy Land Christianity ★, we spent a lot of time talking about games and the importance of “Family Game Nights.” Today’s Thought for the Day will build upon that and contrast the “Pitfalls of Money” with one of our family’s favorite games to play…Monopoly! My prayer is that as we look at this classic board game and some of the mistakes we can make in our finances, God will move in your heart as you see what His Word has to say on the topic. In the last post we did on finances called ★ Thought for the Day – Stay the Course…Part 2 ★ I shared that my passion for handling finances God’s has been fueled by Robert Morris, senior pastor of Gateway Church and from Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace University (FPU) Class. Between them, I have grown in leaps and bounds in my understanding of what the Bible has to say about money and possessions, and if we are not careful, the monopoly it can have on our hearts…pun intended. Dictionary.com had this definition for:
- The exclusive possession or control of something.
- A board game in which a player attempts to gain a monopoly of real estate by advancing around the board and purchasing property, acquiring capital by collecting rent from other players whose pieces land on that property.
It’s interesting that the board game that our family loves to play made it in the very definition of the word. As I went through our game cabinet I was shocked to see how many versions we have:
And most recently we purchased the Electronic Edition of Monopoly. We have made the most of the summer playing one version or another almost daily. I think that it is one of the best board games because of the “real world” exposure that children get to learn that will equip them for life, if they’re paying attention that is.
For those who have not played the game or haven’t played it in a while, I will give you a quick refresher. Here are the cliff notes on the game. Everyone starts off on “Go” with the same amount of money and no properties. Players get to be the Banker, learning how to “make change” and give payments to others, (I am constantly amazed at how fast my youngest daughter can do the math on what is owed.) They understand the value of “passing Go” a.k.a. getting paid a salary and how you need to wait to “earn” additional money by going around the board. The biggest aspect of course is buying property and trying to get a monopoly (owning all real estate associated with that color); once accomplished Houses and Hotels can be purchased which is key to get more rent when an opponent lands on the space. The realities of Paying Rent, Income Tax, landing on “Chance” and going to Jail are also experienced throughout the game which are great lessons as well. And if you are unsuccessful, you could end up in Bankruptcy, thus forcing you out of the game which is an important experience to have that in life you will endure failure and losses. The last player left in the game wins.
According to the official rules:
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Now that does not say money is evil, but “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Many have misunderstood that verse and had a skewed view of what the Bible says. That last part is quite alarming to me that because of the misplaced love, people “have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” The Love of Money is a huge pitfall in life which left unchecked can result in leaving the path that God desires for us to pursue earthly riches.
Our second pitfall is the cousin to Greed and that is…
DISCONTENTMENT. If there is one thing that the game of Monopoly breeds is discontentment but Hebrews 13:5 (NLT) offers an alternative with a promise:
“Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,
‘I will never fail you.
I will never abandon you.’
It all boils down to contentment and whether you can be satisfied with what God has provided. This is an area that I struggle in myself. Not so much because I need the latest and greatest gadget but more because I would like to see more traction or faster results in debt payment and the “emergency fund” growth. How about you? Are you content in what God has provided? Many struggle in this area, striving tirelessly to acquire more and more which leads to excessive hours spent in the office and time away from home. And just like we all compete to have the most monopolies and end the game with the most money, we need to be watchful in this area that discontentment does not grow in our hearts. Proverbs 23:4-5 (NLT) gives this counsel…
“Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich.
Be wise enough to know when to quit.
In the blink of an eye wealth disappears,
for it will sprout wings
and fly away like an eagle.”
Two-thirds of the parables that Jesus taught about were on money and possessions, because GREED and DISCONTENTMENT can pitfalls for you and me if we are not careful. Jesus taught about the stewardship or management of our finances not for personal gain but to be a blessing to others and that is through our …
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Charles Stanley had this great life lesson on this verse:
“In giving, as in all areas of Christian living, God wants our hearts to respond to Him in obedience. He wants willing, joyful, eager participation in His work, not grumbling or halfhearted compliance.”
It’s all about the heart. Are you cheerful when the plate or basket comes around during the offering or do you begrudgingly put the money or check in? In Luke 21:1-4 (ESV) it records how God views our giving…
“Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And He said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.””
It’s not about giving everything but the heart of the giver. Do you give because you love God and want to see His Kingdom advanced here on Earth or out of compulsion? There’s a big difference. God does not need our money (see Psalms 24:1,) but He does want our heart to love what He loves and that is people! The antidote to greed and discontentment is…
“Give freely and become more wealthy;
be stingy and lose everything.
The generous will prosper;
those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
This is not the normal thinking though is it? “Give freely and become more wealthy?” That makes no sense in the natural, but in God’s economy, “the generous will prosper!” I have seen time and time again how God have blessed me when I was not tight-fisted with my money but rather when I stayed the course in my tithing and offerings I saw how God threw open the floodgates of heaven and provided for all my needs, (Malachi 3:10-12 and 2 Corinthians 9:10-11 for more.) God promises to refresh those who refresh others. The question presented before you today is…Will you allow money to be a pitfall or to be a blessing to others?
I will close with this final thought from Charles Stanley:
“God is not after our time, talents, or bank accounts. He already owns the world and everything in it (Exodus 19:5). His greatest desire is to have a personal and intimate relationship with you for all eternity.”
Today I pray you will be challenged to see you finances in a new light that will unlock a new level of faith and trust in God because “His greatest desire is to have a personal and intimate relationship with you for all eternity!”
If you are interested in reading more about how about the Biblical Worldview of Money (How our Finances and Possessions should be handled from God’s Perspective), check out other posts in our collection of posts called: