Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: This messages analyzes the life of former NBA star who lived the highlife too much and is now swamped in debt.


There is a professional basketball player who started his NBA career off with the Chicago Bulls where he was a key contributor. After a few years, he signed with the New York Knicks and has played hoops in the Big Apple ever since. His most promising season was in ‘06-’07 when he played in all 81 games and averaged almost 20 points a game. Lately though he has fallen on hard times. Because of injuries he has played in just 10 games over two seasons, and I suppose is frustrated with his low pay since his over ten million dollar a year contract doesn’t seem to help him pay his bills.

This former 4th pick in the NBA draft whose name will not be mentioned, seems to spend way more than he could have ever made during his career. Currently, he is in default of a 575,000 loan that he made at a shockingly high 85% interest rate (which I thought was illegal…but it was made in Nevada). He owes $1.2 million to another loan service, has $2.5 million a year garnished from his wages to pay for alimony and child support, owes on most of his 12 cars including a Rolls Royce convertible & two Land Rovers. According to the AP report, household expenses cost him $30,000 a month, while $17,000 a month goes at to family and friends, $1000 goes out to cable and satellite television, and for some reason $350,000 a month goes out to Juwan Howard. Huh?

The seven footer has made $57 million over 9 years, but has had to foreclose on his Chicago mansion, was investigated for possible involvement for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, and is in the middle of a sexual harassment case in which after researching the details I would call for lack of a better term, “eerie.”

Regardless of the amount of money this pro ball player makes, he will not be able to pay back his debt. Because his standard of living has regularly exceeded incoming paychecks, the mountain of money to be repaid is nothing short of amazing. But more importantly than money, is the spiritual debt that he has incurred. Sins that were allowed to run rampant are now paying him back with severe consequences, and ultimately outside of finding Jesus will lead to an eternal place of punishment far greater than any public courthouse in America.

Friends, in a way, we are this basketball player. Our sins, absent the saving grace of Christ, have us bound up in a debt that we can in no way repay. Matthew 18 puts it in the following way…"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. "The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. "His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. "Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

Like the NBA star, we need forgiveness. We need to forgive those who have wronged us and we need to ask Jesus into our life in order to receive eternal forgiveness. I pray that you do this today.

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