by: Staci Stallings
One of the best books I read several years ago was When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box by John Ortberg.
At the time I had just lost my brother, so the concept of death and leaving everything behind was very close in my life. In the book, Ortberg relates how when he was very young, he played (I believe) Monopoly with his grandmother. Now his grandmother was not of the mind of “letting” someone win. He related how he had played many games against her and had lost every one.
Then one day, the miracle happened. He finally WON!
He beat Grandma! And oh, the joy and ecstasy… for about five minutes. And then Grandma proceeded to “put it all back in the box.”
Have you ever been there?
You practice for days, months, years maybe, and then one day, you’ve played your last game. Maybe you go into the locker room and realize that you will never stand there after another game. Maybe you walk back out into the gym, or onto the court, or onto the field, and they are cleaning up, turning the lights off, closing up for the night.
I know I’ve been there.
And strangely, even if you’ve won, you kind of get this empty pit of a feeling in your gut. It’s over. I played. I did my best, and now it’s over.
I think THIS is the feeling that the next line in “The Well” so perfectly captures: Leave it all behind… all your earthly treasures.
True, for some of us, “earthly treasures” are possessions. That car sitting in the driveway that you won’t let anyone touch, the iPod or iPhone, the house, the clothes, the image.
For others of us, “earthly treasures” are not so tangible. Maybe it’s the job you’re scared to lose, life now that the kids are grown and gone, some accomplishment or achievement you thought was going to fix everything.
Earthly treasures are those “things” we get so wrapped up in, the things we wrap our lives up in. Like activities and organizations, school and church functions, jobs and hobbies. The things we pour the treasure of our time into.
Now I’m not saying those are all bad. Those are the stuff of life. But if those things have taken over the throne of your heart (and you know if they have), then it really is time to go to the well and have a chat with Jesus.
You can tell Him how and why those things are so important, and He can, in return, tell you the story of the pearl of great price that the man who found in the field and was willing to sell everything to purchase. He can tell you that, that pearl is Him and His love. Then He can tell you with that soft smile and kind eyes that you are His pearl, the one He went and sold everything — His very life to obtain.
When you really “get” that, all that other stuff is just that “stuff.” It’s nice, and it’s fun, and you enjoy it. But at the end of the game, you know you are not going to put the thing that is most important to you back in the box. Instead, you are going to meet Him in all His glory, and you will get to sit at His feet and listen to Him tell you about how wonderful His Father is. Together, you will get to meet that Father and learn for yourself how awesome He is!
Put into context, earthly treasures don’t weigh you down and worry you because you understand those things are temporary, and when put into context with eternity (as you do any time you go to the well), they lose their grip on your life.
Leave it ALL behind… and come to the well!