Summary: A message dealing with the disease of affluence and it’s consequences.
Debt, Deliverance and Dignity
1 Timothy 6:5-11; 17-19
An elderly man on a Moped, looking about 100 years old, pulled up next to a doctor at a streetlight.
The old fella looked at the sleek shiny car and asks, "What kind of car ya got there, sonny?"
The doctor replies, "A Ferrari. It cost half a million dollars!"
"That’s a lot of money," says the old man. "Why does it cost so much?"
"Because this car can do up to 220 miles an hour!" states the doctor proudly.
Moped man asked, "Mind if I take a look inside?" The proud doctor said, “Sure,” so the old guy poked his head in the window and looked around.
Finally, sitting on his scooter, the old man says, "That’s a pretty nice car, all right...But I’ll stick with my Moped!"
Just then the light changes, so the doctor decides to show the old man just what his car can do. He floored it, and within seconds the speedometer hit 160 mph.
Then, he saw a dot in his rear view mirror. It’s getting closer! He slowed to see what it could be and suddenly. WHOOOOSSSHHH! Something whips by him going much faster! "What on earth could be going faster than my Ferrari?" the doctor thought. He accelerated up to 190 mph.
Up ahead was the old man on the Moped!
Amazed, he gave the Ferrari more gas. He’s feeling good until he looks in his mirror and sees the old man gaining on him AGAIN!
Astounded by the speed of this old guy, he floored it and took Ferrari all the way up to 220 mph.
Ten seconds later, the Moped is bearing down on him again!
The Ferrari is flat out, and there’s nothing he can do! Suddenly, the Moped plows into the back of his Ferrari, demolishing the rear end.
The doctor stopped, jumped out and, amazingly, the old man was still alive.
He ran up to the banged-up old guy and says, "I’m a doctor.... Is there anything I can do for you?"
The old man whispers,
"Unhook my suspenders from your side mirror."
Financial freedom is impossible when you are hooked on the American dream of owning, owning, owning. Many people don’t even realize that they are on a fast ride to disaster. That’s why the Bible says, "Know the state of your affairs and watch your business interests closely" (Proverbs 27:34.
• Total American household debt exceeds 100% of disposable annual income.
• Total consumer debt in June 2008 - $2.586 trillion dollars - The Federal Reserve.
• The personal credit card debt carried by the average American is $8,562
• The average consumer carries 8 cards and 20% of them are maxed out.
• 1.3 million credit card holders declared bankruptcy in a recent year.
• Bankruptcies exceeded 1 million per year for several years now.
• Bankruptcy has soared among the elderly – 433% among those 75-84 –USA Today (Christine Dugas, “Bankruptcy Rising Among Seniors,” USA Today, posted in 21st Century Retirement, 6/20/08).
Turn in your Bibles to 1 Timothy 6 and read beginning in verse 5: Men of corrupt mind … think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 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. But you, man of God, flee from all this (vv. 5-11). Now pick up in verses 17-19: Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
It would be great to just go through this passage verse by verse. We haven’t time this morning to do that, but let’s learn some principles about finances from the Word of God.
I. AN AFFLICTION OF AFFLUENZA
What is affluenza? Affluenza, n. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more (John de Graaf, David Wann, Thomas H Naylor, Affluenza, The All-Consuming Epidemic, (San Francisco: Barrett-Koehler Publishers, 2001).