By Paul Leavens
Psychology Today sponsored a contest they called “Scamarama” in which they asked their readers to send in a creative scam. Here’s the ad that took the grand prize:
“Wish you were born rich? Now you can be! If you are one of the growing millions who are convinced of the reality of reincarnation, here’s a once-in-a-lifetime offer!
“First, leave us $10,000 or more in your will. After you pass away, our professional medium will contact your spirit in the other world. Then you tell us when you’re coming back and under what name. Upon your return, we regress you, at age 21, through hypnosis to this lifetime and ask you for your seven-digit account number. Once you give us the number, we give you a check, on the spot, for your original investment, plus interest! The longer you’re gone, the more you will receive! You may come back to find yourself a billionaire!”
Can you believe that? Anyone who would leave $10,000 to that fund would be foolish, to say the least. After all, the Bible teaches that everyone is destined to die once, and after that comes the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
How ridiculous to focus all our attention on the things of this world when we know that “we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” (1 Timothy 6:7).
No wonder God called the rich farmer in Luke 12 a fool. The total focus of his life was the riches of this world. “I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry’” (v. 19). His problem was that he invested only short term. He didn’t think about death, judgment, eternity, or God.
God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” (v. 20).
Death came without a whisper of a warning, and suddenly the man’s evaluation was different. What poor estate planning! He had gathered everything in his barns except an understanding of what life is really all about.
This man committed three deadly errors:
- He received God’s blessings but did not acknowledge the goodness of God.
- He planned for his future but did not acknowledge the providence of God.
- He trusted in material possessions but did not trust the sovereignty of God.
Jesus’ instructions need to be reviewed again and again by those of us living in a materialistic society: “Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.
Seek his kingdom … Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide … a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted … For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:22-34).
It’s clear from Scripture that while you can’t take it with you, you can send it ahead. That requires faith and long-term thinking. But that’s investing your life wisely. Remember, “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17).
Think about it:
- If you unexpectedly gained one million dollars, what are the three things you would do with the money? What are your reasons for these decisions?
- In Luke 12:20, why is God’s judgment toward the rich man so harsh?
- In planning an “investment folio” to become rich toward God [v 21], what will you plan to do this week?
Dr. Paul Leavens is minister of the Christian Church in Lindsay, 120 N. Frazier Ave. To contact him, call 559-562-3743 or visit www.lindsaychristianchurch.org.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.