The wealthy rule over the poor,
and anyone who borrows is a slave to the lender.
(Proverbs 22:7 ISV)
Back in 2013, we talked about the Greek word doulos, which is a voluntary bondservant, or someone who has chosen to place himself under the authority of another.
However, as we also discussed in Part 1 of this series, no one can serve two masters at once. You can’t serve God and be a slave to money at the same time.
So how do we become a slave to money? In a word—debt. When we spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need to satisfy our cravings and desires, we are worshipping creations rather than the Creator.
If we are trusting God to provide us with what we truly need, then why would we leave His service to worship at the altar of prosperity? How prosperous are we really, if we have a big fancy house with no furniture in it or a shiny new sports car that we can’t make the payments on?
It’s bad enough that our nation has promoted a consumer-driven culture where people are conditioned to believe that they need. . .no, that they DESERVE shiny, fancy, new, expensive things. However, as if people going into debt for unnecessary playthings weren’t enough, now they are being encouraged to further mismanage the wealth that has been entrusted to them by turning to legalized gambling to provide a solution to this debt problem.
In my tiny little town of 4,952 people, we have five locations that have slot machines. (I refuse to call them “video gaming facilities.” Aladdin’s Castle is a video gaming facility. People aren’t going to our bars to play Pac Man.)
In the month of January 2015 ALONE, a total of $100,136 was wagered at these five locations. Let’s do the math.
First, you have to be 21 to play the slots, so that eliminates about 2,300 residents. But not all of the adults in town play the slots either. Indeed, most don’t even frequent the places that have them.
In the absence of an exact statistic, let’s assume that one in five adults in town plays the slots. This estimate is probably on the generous side.
Now we’re looking at an average of $190 a month that each person is contributing to the one-armed bandits. For some, it’s probably higher than that.
So what’s the problem? Well, do YOU have upwards of $200 of disposable income each month that you can flush down the toilet? Some folks do, but these are not the folks that typically go to bars in small towns to play slot machines.
Over half of the households in our town have a combined income of less than $5,000 a month. A family with that level of income, IF they manage their money well, should have about $100 or so per month in discretionary income at best after the bills are paid. But again, people that manage their money well are usually not found around slot machines. And remember, the actual amount being deposited here is double that much.
So if people can’t afford to be blowing this kind of cash, why do they do it? Well, duh, because they’re trying to make more. They are under the illusion that they’re going to hit some kind of jackpot and be rich. The reality is that they will have even less money to pay the bills they were having trouble paying in the first place.
But lest you think that I’m going off on a self-righteous jag about gambling, there are other ways to fall into the same trap of money mismanagement. I learned my lesson the hard way with multi-level marketing.
Now I admire people in this country who go into business for themselves and make a lot of money. But it never comes without hard work. If anyone ever tries to show you how you can be rich beyond your wildest dreams and not have to suffer for it, RUN! Anyone who gets involved in a scheme like this hoping to “get rich quick” will find themselves getting broke even quicker.
Generally speaking, God has a plan for us each day, and we are expected simply to be available, receive it, and obey it, carrying it out to its completion. This method ALWAYS leads to success, though sometimes it takes a long, long time, and we may not even see the big-picture results directly. Trying to get rich quick takes our eye off the plan Jesus has for us, which consequently robs us of the potential blessing attached to that plan.
Fortunately, God’s plan for blessing us in our finances begins with a very simple test of obedience.
(Which we will learn about in Part 3—Tithing)