How do you lose a million dollars?
There are tons of ways. You could let M.C. Hammer do your accounting. You could invest it in Beanie Babies because, you know, they’re going to be worth something someday. You could buy non-refundable Cleveland Browns playoff tickets.
Or you could allow the government to have total control of your economy, sort of like they do in Venezuela.
The nation is home to a lot of millionaires. Carmen Machado is one of them. She was laid off recently and got a severance package of 5.8 million bolivars. It was enough to buy her a kilo of meat. That's it.
Because of government control of the market, a bolivar means nothing. You might as well have a million Beanie Babies. It’s this government control that is ruining the once great nation that still sits on an abundant reserve of crude.
The consequences of this government overreach are dire. 87% of the population is officially poor. Citizens are paying up to seven and eight digits for items like rice and bread. The average item now costs 250 times’ what it did this time a year ago.
Think about that the next time your city council wants to raise taxes or tell a private employer how much he should pay his workers. Venezuela is the latest in a long, long line of reminders that more government control and higher taxes do not help poor people. More government control and higher taxes creates more poor people.
Yes, in our current system, there are some CEO’s who make out like bandits while those who work for them barely get by. But if your answer to that dilemma is to give more power to the government, all you’re doing is changing who makes out like bandits while increasing the amount of people who barely get by. Instead of the CEO robbing his people blind, it’ll be your senator. Depending on where you live, it already is that way.
But there is another reminder here for us as well. Money, while an important and powerful resource, is a terrible thing to live for. Just ask the millionaires in Venezuela. No matter where you live or how free your economy is, there is coming a time when your wealth will be worthless. You’ve probably heard the old joke about hearses never pulling U-Haul trailers. Even if you wisely leave your riches to your family, it won’t last. One generation earns it. Then next generations spends it. The next generation goes on reality TV to get some of it back and, if time permits, take care of their drug addictions.
Imagine a man who lives on another planet. His planet produced a resource that we regularly use here. On his planet, he acquired a lot of this resource. It made him a wealthy man. His fellow citizens admired him. They wanted to be him.
Eventually, he had done all he could on his planet so he decided to come to ours to live the good life on the fruits of his acquisitions. He had accumulated all of this one resource that his planet had to offer and now it was time to come to ours and live off of it.
He arrived in style and was quick to show off his wealth. The first chance he got, he revealed his precious cargo—the resource that had won him so much praise on his planet and was sure to give him a life of luxury on ours.
He showed it to the curious crowd of earthlings that had gathered.
They were confused.
“Dirt? Big deal. We walk on that here.”
The man had built his life on a resource that did him no good in his new life.
We are no different. Our wealth, while important, holds no eternal value. It won’t buy your way into heaven. I can picture the scene now as someone tries.
“Gold? Big deal. We walk on that up here.”
It’s good to have treasures on earth.
It’s infinitely better to have treasures in heaven that cannot be touched by moths, rust, or overreaching governments.
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (ESV)