“Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings.” (Proverbs 23:5)
The National Football League (NFL) is arguably the most popular sports league in America. Stadiums are full, television ratings are through the roof and the athletes are more popular than ever.
NFL players are rewarded handsomely. In 2013, Aaron Rodgers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, was the highest paid player, according to Forbes.com, at $43 million. Drew Brees, quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, was right behind Rodgers at $40 million. The average salary, in 2011, for an NFL player, according to a Yahoo!Sports article was only $1.9 million — still about 50 times higher than the approximate annual income of the average American.
Just because someone, whether he is a NFL quarterback or the branch manager at a local bank, makes money, does not necessarily guarantee the money will be there in five, 10, or 20 years.
It was the 2006 national championship between the USC Trojans and the Texas Longhorns. Vince Young was the quarterback for the Longhorns who went on to win that game 41-38 in what many say was the greatest college football game ever. Young was fabulous in the win and the next day, sports broadcaster Jim Rome said about Young and whether he should return to Texas for his senior year, “You’re holding the lottery ticket. Cash it.”
Young did cash it in. He turned pro and was drafted the No. 3 overall pick by the Tennessee Titans. Early on his future looked bright in the NFL, but events happened and by the 2011 season, he was out of football full time. In 2012 and 2013 he made it to preseason camps but was never picked up by a team. In his six years of playing he made $34 million.
According to a Sports Illustrated study in 2009, 78 percent of former NFL players are bankrupt or go through severe financial setbacks within two years of leaving football. Young became the next. In 2014 he filed for bankruptcy. Ed Butkowsky, a Dallas financial advisor familiar with Young’s situation, cited overspending as one of his primary reasons for filing.
It is easy for us to criticize a high-profile athlete like Young and others because it makes us feel better about our own situation. Many of us may not admit it, but we are just as guilty of some of the reasons Young fell into financial trouble.
The scenario often goes like this: We see something we want; we do not have the money to pay for it; we put it on a credit card or take out a loan; stress and strain in our relationships occur and we start the cycle all over again with something else we desire.
Here are some applicable verses from God’s Word we can apply:
“A rich man may be wise in his own eyes.” (Proverbs 18:23)
“Though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.” (Psalms 62:10)
“… not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain.” (1 Timothy 6:17b)
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.” (Hebrews 13:5)
“Let not … the rich man boast of his riches, but … that he understands and knows me.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
Are you overspending? Are you experiencing stress and despair? If not, you may be in the best place to get help — before it becomes too much to handle. First, go to God and tell Him that you will not put your hope in wealth, you will be content with what you have, and value knowing Him above every other thing in this world. Then reach out to a Christian friend who will go with you to get the help you need.
William “Carey” Northington of One Master Ministries in Xenia may be contacted at OneMaster.org.