How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.
When our oldest granddaughter, Virginia Rose, turns eight in July, my husband, Danny, and I give her the one, the only, granddaddy and grand-master of all board games: Monopoly!
Invented in 1903 by Lizzy Magie, and dubbed "The Landlord's Game," Monopoly has seen many transformations throughout the ensuing years, but has managed, even in this age of technology, to remain a family-friendly classic.
Once she learns the rules, Virginia takes to the game like a born entrepreneur. She can't get enough of it!
We spend hours on the living room floor rolling dice, purchasing real estate, railroads and utilities, and trying our best to buy blocks of property on which houses or hotels can be erected.
So much depends on the rolls of the dice, the dollars in our personal funds, and the dictates of the Chance and Community Chest cards as to whether or not we succeed in outdoing the other.
Monopoly is the definition of risk, luck and savvy decisions, not to mention the inevitable crushing of one's opponent. The latter is hardly the recipe for God's kingdom, yet I believe that the lessons learned in playing this game show us how to live in the world, yet not be of it.
- Stewardship - We are called by God to be good stewards of the gifts He's given us. If we've been given monetary resources in abundance, we need to make responsible decisions about how to use/share those funds for the good of our family, our church family, and others in our community who are in need.
- Life isn't fair - Jesus never guaranteed us a stress-free, no-hassle life, but He did promise to be with us through it all, no matter what afflictions or troubles come our way. He has vowed to carry our burdens when we lay them at His feet.
- Risk taking is a part of life - Jesus sent His disciples out, two by two, to spread the Good News. There was no guarantee that the Word would be met with acceptance, but off they went in faith, willing to risk it all for Jesus and His Message of repentance and salvation.
- God's love is infinite, eternal, never-ending - Oh, yes! And so is the game of Monopoly - never-ending, that is. Virginia and I play for hours, taking breaks here and there, especially to check out if this Gammie has any moving joints left after sitting on the floor for way too long. No, we never have a definitive winner, as the pendulum of money and property seems to swing back and forth when least expected, leaving us in perpetual game time suspense.
The Monopoly board remains in place overnight, ready and waiting for the challenge we will take up once again in the morning. How this brings back priceless memories of the marathon games I play with neighborhood friends as a child, and again, with my own children during the hot and steamy doldrums of summer.
From generation to generation, the game endures.
From generation to generation, God's kingdom, overflowing with love and grace, endures.
And when we allow our Father to have a monopoly on our hearts, we can proclaim in glorious triumph, "We win!"