Well, they didn’t say it quite that openly. But the stories of five prominent and now retired professional athletes, covered elegantly by the Washington Post, suggest that while money is not in itself evil, neither does it guarantee happiness. In fact, it often does not.
Here’s the tagline from the article on former NFL player Peter Boulware:
What brings purpose to life at age 34 when you have everything you could possibly want but nothing to hitch your dreams to? Former NFL star Peter Boulware thought politics might be the answer, but that was before he lost.
The story on Kenny Anderson is poignant and leads with this:
Former NBA player Kenny Anderson, who has seven children by five women and blew through more than $63 million in salary, is hard at work on a comeback — as a man and a father.
Baseball player Aaron Boone’s career closed on a frustrating note:
By every tangible measure, Bret Boone’s comeback last year at age 39 was a failure, as he failed to get back to the major leagues and walked away from the game for the second time in two years. But in Boone’s view, it was a success.
I don’t know about you, but I love these kind of “Where are they now” stories. I find them endlessly fascinating. I’m not exactly sure why–what is it about my psyche that makes me wonder where John Crotty has gone (he’s a broadcaster for the Miami Heat)?
Among other things, the articles show that money brings temptations, and temptations, when not met by the power of the Holy Spirit, bring sin and disarray. One thinks that getting rich and famous is hitting it big–but it’s really becoming a bulls-eye for Satan. Most of us were not made to be able to handle such trappings of success. Without providence, we are simply no match for temptation.
It’s fun to read these stories. But it’s also good to realize that Ecclesiastes and the general voice of Scripture is right. It’s better to know God and worship Christ than to have any other thing. Much as the culture whispers to us elsewise, the stories of these athletes and so many other “successful” people remind us that God is right. “How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.” (Proverbs 16:16) Amen.
But don’t just know this truth–live it out. If you have Christ, you really do have more than you could ever want. We need to let that condition the way we think about our homes, our possessions, our pastimes, our families, our churches, and our very lives.
(Photo of Kenny Anderson by Andrew Innerarity/Washington Post)