Ryan Broyles, a member of last season’s Detroit Lions, is not only famous for playing three years in the NFL but also for what he has achieved off the field. Broyles, 27 years old, made over $2 million from the Lions from 2012 until now but he keeps to a budget of $5,000 per month. He doesn’t have flashy things, cable TV or a Porsche even though he has the funds. Yes, Ryan is different from other professional athletes who have either squandered or been bilked out of millions of dollars.
Ryan allocates 50% of his budget to fixed expenses like mortgage and car payments. Thirty percent goes to variable expenses like food and gas and 20% goes into savings. He and his wife look for discounts even though they could afford to pay full price. They used Groupon for a trip to China. They also use cloth diapers because it is cheaper.
It’s good to hear of someone with self control in an area of life like finances. Many, I’m sure, would think Ryan has arrived and is rich. In some ways they would be correct. The often missed, real treasure here that prevents disaster is self control. It benefits a person at any income level and in many areas of life other than finance. The Bible tells us there is much more treasure to be had. It tells us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness are also available, to name a few. These, it says, are available to those who know God and have His spirit. Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you had these qualities? If you desire this treasure, you might try asking the One who can make these available to you.
There was a lot of excitement in the air as the recent Powerball jackpot reached $1.6 billion. Three winning tickets were issued that would share this top prize. While two winners have not yet come forward, the third would like to continue working and live in the same small house after the winnings are distributed. These are good intentions but many times lottery winners, unaccustomed to sudden wealth, have gone bankrupt. They are often victimized or experience other losses and find it hard to deal with the onslaught of unwanted attention.
Many people don’t realize that Powerball is just another tax. On average, 29% of the revenue goes to education, and 50% goes to the winners. The remainder is absorbed by the state. It’s interesting that with all this Powerball money flowing into education, there has not been an increase in education spending. If there is an increase, it generally occurs in the first year the lottery begins operating. Some states, like Wisconsin, spend 99% of lotto revenue to lower state property taxes. It’s a tax to lower another tax which is voter sensitive.
Now that we’ve talked about the winners, we should say something about the losers. To be a winner, you would have to overcome odds of 1 in 292.2 million. As you can see there are many more people paying a tax rather than reaping a reward. While winning any of the prizes has the potential to make life more comfortable, you can’t help but wonder if these people put their trust in money. After all, money is temporary, but life is eternal. The Bible asks what it would profit a man if he gained the whole world but lost his own soul. It also says a person cannot serve God and money too. His love will be with one or the other. While it is fine to have money in your pocket, we need to remember the Bible says the love of money is the root of evil. The issue is not how much money you have but loving it or God.
Have you put your trust in the eternal God who can supply all you need forever or do you like the lotto odds better?
Recently Jennifer Lopez put her house on the market with an asking price of $17 million. When we saw that, we began to ask ourselves what the average person on the street might be thinking when they see news such as this about the rich and famous. It didn’t take long to get an idea, especially when we saw a news article whose title suggested that the average person could drink the same champagne that was being served to the stars at the Oscars. Many who don’t have wealth I suspect, strongly desire it. Others may get more satisfaction out of increasing their power and influence. When those that don’t have riches or fame spend a lot of time pursuing the same, one has to ask if that’s what life is about.
Most people have probably heard of King Solomon and especially his wisdom. Solomon was probably the wisest man of his time. Leaders of many nations would come to seek his wisdom. He had palaces, many women, any type of entertainment and he pursued whatever pleasure he desired. Solomon tried everything from wine to work. He had both wealth and power. It would probably surprise most people that Solomon concluded that what he had been doing was worthless and futile. All these things were meaningless.
After seeing and experiencing the things mankind pursues, he realized what we experience through the senses doesn’t compare to what will be experienced in eternity. He said God placed eternity into the hearts of mankind. Today, people are so busy they don’t have time to think about the meaning and value of what they are pursuing. Does anything you pursue have an eternal worth?
It has now been predicted by Oxfam International that the wealth accumulated by the richest 1% of people on the earth will exceed that of the other 99% in 2016. The Oxfam organization takes on campaigns to find innovative solutions to lift people out of poverty and become self-sufficient. It believes the scale of global inequality is staggering with the gap between the richest and the rest of the people in the world widening fast.
When we think about how the countries of the world operate their economies we also think about God giving Israel principles to govern its economy. The Bible tells us that after 49 years of Sabbaths there was to be a Year of Jubilee. This would occur once every fifty years. The Year of Jubilee was to be a time of rest for the soil and the people. The original distribution of land was to revert to the original owner with few exceptions. If the original owner had been obligated to sell his land, it would revert back to him in the fiftieth year. If any Israelite sold himself because of poverty, that individual would be freed in the fiftieth year. In this system loans would become less valuable as the fiftieth year approached since both the lender & borrower would know when the balance would have a mandatory cancellation.
Imagine what a system similar to this would do to interest rates and wealth distribution if it were observed worldwide. But what would motivate people to comply? The only reason this type of system would be observed by a large people group would be because of their respect and fear of the God of the Bible. It is something that seems to be diminishing in our world today.