Today was an extremely interesting day. As I started off on my walk I observed, that the traffic was so normal, no one would think we started level 3 lock down today. I decided to increase my distance to 7.5 kms and saw a man standing outside a slot machine/gambling house. It was coldish. Even though I had been on the road for more than one kilometer, I was still not hot. The man standing outside the gambling joint waiting for the doors to open was in shorts. He stood there with his little bag dangling from his wrist.
I am not sure whether slot machine/gambling houses have been open before level 3, but this is the first time I saw this one getting ready for business. I am sure you are gearing your mind to read where I am going, because if you know me, you’ll know that I am totally against all forms and shapes of gambling.
You will be aware that money is easy to come by through the banks and loan sharks. The great problem when lending money is that you need to pay it back. It is easy to get the money, but month end sees them take the instalment. Some people borrow money from friends or family. Others run up credit cards to the limit. In fact, many have more than one credit card. Most people do not have a set budget. They might have an idea in their mind but nothing on paper. Very often, people are affected by advertising pressure. They see an ad in a paper or on TV and buy whatever is promoted, whether they need it or not. Others function according to peer pressure: “What my friend or family member has, I need.” So, apart from bank loans and credit card debt, there are clothing accounts, furniture accounts and, for many, there are food accounts. All these things need to be paid, but the income remains the same whilst the debt fluctuates, usually far higher than the income.
Maybe into this scenario you can see why so many people are in financial crisis. Often, parents do not teach financial planning and budgeting. To my knowledge, the schools do not teach learners to be wise with money. One of the strange situations is that often the high-earners are those who owe the most … and all too often those who work with money such as accountants have no clue about their personal financial state of affairs.
So this man is outside the slot machine/gambling house early in the morning. He has his bag of coins and he is rearing to go. I cannot say why he was the early gambling bird … but mostly, gambling is not recreational. Most people do not budget to lose huge sums of money. Most gamblers might not be professional gamblers, but they are serious. Their intent is to hit the jackpot. Now this is what I can’t understand … you spend lots of money with the intent of scoring high, yet the odds are always stacked against you. The gambling dens are set up to make money. Look at the huge casinos. They look like they do because their owners make money big time. So is the Lotto. How else are they able to donate large sums of money to various organizations?
As you are aware, the following Scripture is often misquoted:
1Ti 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Read it again! The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. See that? The love for is a passion, an obsession, a control, a magnet! It has nothing to do with, “How can I use this money for the glory of God?” and instead has to do with, “How I can use this money for myself?” The center of this type of love is “I”, and the “money” is my god. Look at Colossians:
Col 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
Wow, get that! Greed is idolatry! The love of money is the greed for money, and the money is the idol or the god.
Now here is the punch line …
Heb 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Contentment resolves the “I want this and that” issue. Contentment causes me to run a workable monthly budget. Contentment prevents me from needing to live up to the Jones’. Contentment prevents me from running up credit cards, taking loans for irrelevant and unnecessary items. Contentment guides me to live according to my means. Contentment tells me that my income needs to come from legitimate employment, from savings and, if God blesses, from inheritance. Why? Because when God is God you know He will never leave you nor forsake you!
O God, prevent me from losing my heart to things I don’t need. Guide me to so love You that You steer me far away from being attracted to money, wealth and possessions. Help me to remain focused on the main thing … the Lord Jesus. Fill me so with love, passion and commitment to Him that I never stray towards the tangible. Take my heart, Lord, and let it be fully consecrated to You for Your glory and my spiritual benefit. Thank You again for the privilege of being able to pray in Jesus name. Amen.