You're in limited preview mode.

Login or signup for free to unlock more content.

It All Goes Back In The Box

Greed Mortality Vanity

Source: WHEN THE GAME IS OVER, IT ALL GOES BACK IN THE BOX by John Ortberg, pp. 11-14 (quoted from an audio retelling by the same author)

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-09-25

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 1:4

Author: John Ortberg


John Ortberg writes: 

My grandmother ... was a lovely woman, but she was the most ruthless Monopoly player I have ever known in my life. Imagine what would have happened if Donald Trump had married Leona Helmsley and they would have had a child. Then, you have some picture of what my grandmother was like when she played Monopoly. She understood that the name of the game is to acquire. 

When we would play when I was a little kid and I got my money from the bank, I would always want to save it, hang on to it, because it was just so much fun to have money. She spent on everything she landed on. And then, when she bought it, she would mortgage it as much as she could and buy everything else she landed on. She would accumulate everything she could. And eventually, she became the master of the board. 

And every time I landed, I would have to pay her money. And eventually, every time she would take my last dollar, I would quit in utter defeat. And then she would always say the same thing to me. She’d look at me and she’d say, “One day, you’ll learn to play the game.” I hated it when she said that to me. But one summer, I played Monopoly with a neighbor kid–a friend of mine–almost every day, all day long. We’d play Monopoly for hours. 

And that summer, I learned to play the game. I came to understand the only way to win is to make a total commitment to acquisition. I came to understand that money and possessions, that’s the way that you keep score. And by the end of that summer, I was more ruthless than my grandmother. I was ready to bend the rules, if I had to, to win that game. And I sat down with her to play that fall. 

Slowly, cunningly, I exposed my grandmother’s vulnerability. Relentlessly, inexorably, I drove her off the board. The game does strange things to you ... She was an old lady by now. She was a widow. She had raised my mom. She loved my mom. She loved me. I took everything she had. I destroyed her financially and psychologically. I watched her give her last dollar and quit in utter defeat. It was the greatest moment of my life.


The author continues: 

And then she had one more thing to teach me. Then she said, “Now it all goes back in the box–all those houses and hotels, all the railroads and utility companies, all that property and all that wonderful money–now it all goes back in the box.” I didn’t want it to go back in the box. I wanted to leave the board out, bronze it maybe, as a memorial to my ability to play the game.  

“No,” she said, “None of it was really yours. You got all heated up about it for a while, but it was around a long time before you sat down at the board, and it will be here after you’re gone. Players come and players go. But it all goes back in the box.”

And the game always ends. For every player, the game ends. Every day you pick up a newspaper, and you can turn to a page that describes people for whom this week the game ended. Skilled businessmen, an aging grandmother who was in a convalescent home with a brain tumor, teenage kids who think they have the whole world in front of them, and somebody drives through a stop sign. It all goes back in the box–houses and cars, titles and clothes, filled barns, bulging portfolios, even your body.

"I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind" (Ecclesiastes 1:4). 

My Contribution

Humility Success Quotes Praise

Source: Quoteland

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Thomas Bevers | Date Posted: 2019-10-16

Scripture: Philippians 4:13

Author: Thomas Bevers


(Said by Stacey King, after Michael Jordan scored a career-high 69 points and Stacey King scored 1 point against the Cavaliers.)



We can go two ways with this quote. There are times we think way too much of ourselves and we claim more credit than we deserve.

But there are other times when we remember whose team we are on. If I ever played basketball, it would make all the difference being on Michael Jordon's team; if football, Tom Brady's team, if baseball, Ty Cobb's team. 

Since we have believed, you and I have been on Jesus' team.  As such, we must humbly remember to give Him the credit for any good that takes place in our lives. 

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). 

Interconnected Idols

Idolatry Pride Temptation

Contributed By: Jason Seville | Date Posted: 2019-03-06

Scripture: Colossians 3:5 ; Ephesians 4:22

Author: Jason Seville


I was recently meeting with a young man in our church who has been very successful in business. Originally from Silicon Valley, he climbed his company's corporate ladder before taking six months off to focus on family, faith, and personal health. He's gotten to a really healthy place personally and spiritually and so he's recently decided to get back in the game and apply for some jobs. 

A corporate headhunter helped him find two great jobs pretty quickly. One is with a startup in a new industry that would pay a lot but also require a lot of hours. A second is with a household-name tech giant that would pay less but allow for a better balance of work, family, and church.

It wasn't easy for him and we met for several straight weeks as he labored over his decision. He finally told me that he was willing to prioritize the right things even if it meant sacrificing money. He knows that money isn't necessarily wrong or evil, but that the money that was so enticing for this job would come with some trade-offs in his life that aren't worth it. 

I told him that I was proud of him and that that I thought it was very wise for him in this season of life to take less money for a better work-life balance. 

You can imagine my surpirse, then, when we met the following week and he told me that he turned down the balanced job and took the lucrative job with the smaller startup. 

When I asked what happened, he hung his head and said that the job title offered by the tech giant was what he couldn't stomach. He'd gotten himself to a place where taking less money was palatable, but not where a lesser title was palatable. (They offered him a senior manager position when his level of expertise and qualifications should give him a job with the word "director" in the position title.) 

"It's pride. I know it's nothing but pride. But taking the lesser position would negate all the work and progress I've made. It would look poorly on me if I were to change jobs later on down the road."  

So, here he is again--back in the rat race. He's working 80-hour weeks and having to leave his family to travel all over the world. He dealt with his temptation to greed, but as soon as he did pride took its place. 


This is how sin works. It's a shape-shifter. We must remain vigilant against it and fill up our affections with the love of Christ because merely removing a love (e.g., greed) is insufficient because another love will take its place (e.g., pride). This illustration is also a reminder of the interconnectedness of our idols. We can't just focus on one struggle or temptation in our lives. There is rarely ever one single thing that is lurking to take us down. It's usually a web of temptations. 

"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5). 

What Job Knew

Humility Trust (In God) Suffering

Contributed By: Corey Sawyers | Date Posted: 2018-09-08

Scripture: Job 19:25 ; Job 40:1

Author: Corey Sawyers

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or

Go To Your Brother

Friendship Confrontation Self-absorbed

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2018-07-17

Scripture: Matthew 18:15

Author: Joseph Parker

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or


Self-absorbed Church Health/Growth Servanthood

Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2018-06-27

Scripture: Philippians 2:3

Author: Neal Pollard

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or

Vain Jangling

Words (Power of) Pride Wisdom

Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2018-03-10

Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:6 ; Proverbs 17:27

Author: Neal Pollard

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or

Do You Feel Plutoed?

Value (True Worth) Self-image Encouragement

Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2018-01-24

Scripture: Galatians 2:20 ; Ephesians 1:7

Author: Neal Pollard

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or

Together, We Will Replace God

Pride Listening Rebellion

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-12-12

Scripture: Genesis 3:5 ; Proverbs 16:18

Author: Illustration Exchange

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or

They Call It Sologamy

Marriage End Times Self-absorbed

Contributed By: Rod Crowell | Date Posted: 2017-12-03

Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:2

Author: Rod Crowell

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or