Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box” as Want to Read:
When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  1,014 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews

Bestselling author, pastor, and consummate storyteller John Ortberg tells us we can take pretty much only what we brought to the game. Everything else goes back in the box-the cash atop the corporate ladder, the vacation home at the lake, and the status vehicle in between.

All the tokens, game pieces, and prizes are left behind when we walk away from the table. The only rea

MP3 Book, 0 pages
Published August 3rd 2007 by Zondervan (first published July 30th 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Be the first to ask a question about When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 06, 2016 Jerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining, humorous, and informative, John Ortberg delivers another winner with this book. He'll have you laughing...but he'll also challenge your thinking. This one is definitely worth reading for all Christians.
Mar 26, 2016 Dkovlak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good book. It has a lot of funny stories in it. The author does a good job of getting the point across. The idea is that when the game of life is over we can take nothing with us. Therefore, we should spend our time, talents, and possessions on things that have eternal consequences not temporary consequences. (Invest in people not STUFF.)

Life is short, so we should make the best of the time we have on earth. Be generous. Don't hold grudges. Love your neighbor. Play fair. Be a gracious
Feb 11, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ortberg is always a treat. He isn't extremely deep theologically, but he does give some great ideas for sermon illustrations. He is also very entertaining while being a super devotional writer. This title appealed to me because of my daughter-in-law Amy, who loves to play board games. I listened to the Audible version and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The author emphasizes a Divine perspective on life, stressing the value of eternal things rather than temporal things. He does it in a unique, upbeat way.
Crina cordea
Feb 10, 2013 Crina cordea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the last chapter it's a briliant one, shows a good perspective on how to lose or win or forgive in a elegance manner.
Arun Thamizhvanan
Nov 07, 2016 Arun Thamizhvanan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful Book. It is so easy to read but also so thoughtful and incisive in observations. When our game is over ( die) - all goes back in the box. What to do in the dash between our birth date and our end date, I loved the way John Ortberg used stories and illustrations, personal examples to drive point after point. I would love to read it once every year. I love the quotes he suitably places over every chapter start paragraph. I have become a fan of John Ortberg. This is my second book, find h ...more
Derek Winterburn
This book is a series of chapters (at least some were sermons first) united by the idea that the life that we see is like a 'game' - that is not life from an eternal perspective. All of this is readable and there are some very good chapters, but some of it is familiar Ortberg stuff. Ortberg is a great storyteller, and can tell stories well against himself. However he has a habit of telling an anecdote (as if it were true) then undermining it with flip punchline. In a talk that would just be a th ...more
May 28, 2010 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like one reviewer said, this is classic John Ortberg. Successfully weaving bits and pieces of humor, stories, and personal antecedents into a book about meaningful life stuff, Ortberg does a great job of carrying his theme, "Games as life metaphor" throughout the entire book. There were some parts that seemed abrupt or I didn't quite get the placement or use of a particular story or the particular story just didn't transition well into the next part. But all in all it was a good book. I have to ...more
Jun 26, 2016 Suzanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent work for Ortberg. This is the first one of his I've read and I was not disappointed.

This is an evaluation of chasing money and promotions while sacrificing relationships in the process. This is an evaluation of a symptom of many a poor soul who cries out on his death bed after all is said and done. Relationships are sacrificed for career gain far too often in an empirical world. If you haven't experienced this in yourself or those you love or once loved, then you are a rarity. This is
Jay Ehret
Sep 23, 2014 Jay Ehret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not every spiritual book needs to change your life. And while I know of someone who's life has been profoundly affected by this particular one, it did not have that effect on me, and that's okay.

Sometimes books just need to nudge you forward on your path, sometimes they need to bring you back to the path, and sometimes just reaffirm what you feel in your heart. For me it was getting me back on the path.

Ortberg is a masterful storyteller and here he uses his stories to bring you face-to-face wi
Shaun Lee
Feb 01, 2016 Shaun Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterpiece. I read it in a day, though not in a single sitting. As a bible school student, I gravitate toward more theologically "deep" and "scholarly" titles. This I have to admit was a pleasant surprise (partially because I've read his "The Life You've Always Wanted" and found it to be so-so.

I am so thankful to Ortberg for reminding me what on earth should I be doing with my life, even as I am embarking on a new journey in life that would kickoff the start of a career (and involve financing
Dottie Parish

It All Goes Back in the Box by John Ortberg, pastor and best selling author, is a clever and wise book about the fact that life is short and often our priorities are flawed and driven by plans for worldly success. Playing Monopoly with his grandmother taught Ortberg that when the game is over it all goes back in the box. This game metaphor for life continues throughout the book pointing out that the object in life is not to win houses, hotels, fame or fortune. The object for a Christian is to “b
Chad B
Oct 13, 2008 Chad B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's Ortberg need I say more. Anyone who has read John Ortberg knows what I mean. For those of you who haven't... Ortberg is the Pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in California. His writing is very down to earth, humorous and insightful. In this book Ortberg looks at life from the perspective of the monopoly board. Reminding us that when the "Game" of life is over we can't take anything with us. Or can we? We can accumulate great things in life, but the question is what really matters? We ...more
Francis Gahren
Apr 18, 2013 Francis Gahren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
Pastor and bestselling author Ortberg (God Is Closer Than You Think; Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them) offers a thoughtfully written instruction manual for Christian game players of all ages. Using games as a metaphor, Ortberg presents carefully considered tactics for succeeding in life from God's vantage point.

Each chapter weaves the rules of gaming with the Christian journey: understanding the object of the game (being spiritually rich toward God); the setup (keeping score, taking
Sam Oxby
Jan 23, 2013 Sam Oxby rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There were a couple of gems in this book, which reiterated basic principles of my walk with Jesus that I'd not put enough emphasis on, or which had slipped over the years.

I now try and note at least one thing which I am grateful for per day, as a means of remembering that everything is God given and undeserved. And I'm also more aware of allowing myself to settle for second best, to focus on things which I have prioritised, rather than God's priorities for me, on a day to day, month to month bas
Phil Whittall
May 18, 2016 Phil Whittall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When The Game Is Over It All Goes Back In The Box is the latest book by John Ortberg and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. Here are my reasons why:

It was on a subject close to my heart at the moment, being rich towards God.

It included down to earth teaching on the importance of not focusing on stuff and instead focusing on people.

It talked about loving God and loving people.

It was easy to read

It made me laugh

It made me cry – the Johnny the bagger story

It was encouraging and uplifting and it di
Jan 26, 2009 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian, read-2009
John Ortberg takes the image of a game, such as Monopoloy. He recounts anecdotes with his grandmother, who taught him a great deal about sportsmanship and games in general, and he relates it to daily life.

The overall theme is to make live worth living, since it will eventually come to an end, just like a board game. The book is divided into sections - setup, hazards, how to play, and so on - with parts of games used as analogies for different aspects of living life.

I don't suppose there was an
Jun 06, 2013 Albert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
After having read My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word, I decided to give it a go, and I happened to pick ETERNITY as my word. As a part of that, I've been thinking about what the eternal perspective does to our concern for what is important and what is trivial. This book, which I started reading around the time I picked the word, addresses that topic exactly.

Pastor John has a great way of being humorous, painfully honest, and poignant in his messages. This book does not disappoint.
Jun 08, 2013 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent to the point message, easy to read, applicable to all...The king and pawn all go back in the box when the game is over. But "The KING has one move more."

One commentary on the cultural change moving away from truth:

"Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take."

The author suggests the recitations of this prayer have declined significantly over the last fifty years. Today we deny heaven and hell (Every one is go
May 04, 2010 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
I think it was John Bunyan who said, "If a man would live well, let him fetch his last day to him and make it always his company keeper." This book is one to help you do just that. I read it book during Lent this year to help me with examen. It's a book every Christian should read reflectively. Ortberg mixes his words of wisdom with humor to make the medicine go down, but the book deals with a serious subject: How to live a life that really matters (to God, you and others you care for) and be th ...more
Mar 23, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book I've read that Ortberg has written, and I loved it just as much as the first (The Life You've Always Wanted). In this book, he uses the Monopoly board as an analogy for the game of life, and the focus is on having an eternal perspective. His quotes and stories make me nod and laugh out loud. There is just so much common sense and truth within his books, and I really enjoy his writing style. It is so honest, personal and easy to read. I would definitely recommend this book ...more
Apr 08, 2009 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. The author certainly gave me a great deal to think about. I highly recommend it if you feel you may be living a life of "wanting more" or "not having enough". The book and its message prompt me to always be grateful daily for all my blessings--big and small. And to remember what truly matters in life--God and people. Those are the only things that don't go back in the box when the game is over.
Jenn Raley
Mar 27, 2011 Jenn Raley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith
This would be a really good book for teens, or for new Christians. For mature believers, it's full of good reminders, and good examples of things we should already be practicing in our walk with Christ. But don't expect it to be life-changing, or even challenging in terms of giving specific "next steps" to implement changes in your life.

There are a lot of great metaphors and stories - great fodder for sermon illustrations for all you pastors out there.
Aug 14, 2009 Christi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book to bring us back to what and who really matters in life. To remind us what success really is. It encourages the reader to live passionately and boldly seeking the richness of BEING instead of the richness of having! John Ortberg is a great storyteller who is able to articulate concepts into visual pictures that leave you in awe. I absolutely love his insight and illustrations. I have enjoyed all his books and this one is no exception.
Jan 14, 2015 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One day it's all going back in the box. The purpose of life is to make God smile. Trophies bring temporary pleasure that can be addicting but the pleasure always wears off. Stuff and titles and what passes for good fortune this time around the game board don't really amount to all that much. You may have thought in this life that you were Master of the Board. You're not. But don't despair. Live wisely. The KING still has one more move.
Brent MacDonald
Feb 17, 2016 Brent MacDonald rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title might make it look lightweight, and I suppose in some respects it is, but intentionally so. John Ortberg is a solid, learned Bible teacher however, who chooses to communicate truth through the lens of ordinary life. In this particular book, his gentle (and often humorous) reminder to concern ourselves with things of eternal consequence is much valued. Highly recommended.
David 'Wavey' Cowpar
At first this book is very good. The comparison of life to a game works quite well in places, though falls short in others.

However, half way through the book you realise that (the usually wonderful) John Ortberg hasn't actually got enough material for an entire book based on this metaphor, or analogy, and simply repeats himself.

My least favourite of Ortberg's books, sadly.
Mrunal Nargunde
This is a good book on Christianity and the thoughts echoed are nice. The narration dint appeal me much personally. There were times when I felt the author has made the point, established it and needs to move forward but chapter continues. I recommend this to people from Catholic background and anyone who is interested in understanding teaching of Jesus Christ.
Jan 06, 2016 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Ortberg does not mince time on debatable finer points of doctrine, but focuses all his energies on the plain, main essentials. And it's awesome. His story-telling and illustrating provides fresh angles to reflect upon and breathes new life to old knowledge. Ortberg is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.
We know we’re not getting out of this life alive, but what are we living for? Ortberg asks that we review our calendar and our checkbook for examples of our priorities. Are we living for God or for ourselves? God has given us all gifts and strengths to help us reach our mission (even our weaknesses can be used to further our mission). What will we do with the game of life?

Lent 2011
Apr 26, 2008 Rheonna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Rheonna by: Manci
I just finished listening to this book, read by the author, on CD's. This is one of the best books I have read in years on living out a Christian walk. It is basic and not heavy, very real advise for today's world. It made me laugh and cry. Even my 15 year old son listened to it in the car with me, he too enjoyed the stories and examples. I have recommended it to all my friends.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus's Essential Teachings on Discipleship
  • Holy Discontent: Fueling the Fire That Ignites Personal Vision
  • The Best Question Ever
  • Chazown: khaw-ZONE - A Different Way to See Your Life
  • Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World Than Actually Changing the World?
  • The Great House of God
  • The Power Of Praying Together
  • Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion Truth in the Immigration Debate
  • The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life
  • Handle with Prayer: Unwrap the Source of God's Strength for Living
  • The Good and Beautiful Community: Following the Spirit, Extending Grace, Demonstrating Love
  • How People Grow: What the Bible Reveals About Personal Growth
  • An Unstoppable Force: Daring to Become the Church God Had in Mind
  • Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time
  • This Beautiful Mess: Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God
  • Storm Warning
  • Things Unseen: Living in Light of Forever
  • Reaching for the Invisible God: What Can We Expect to Find?

Share This Book

“Gratitude is the ability to experience life as a gift. It liberates us from the prison of self-preoccupation.” 45 likes
“sometimes we do not realize how much we have to be grateful for until it is threatened.” 10 likes
More quotes…