Dude, I Got A Dud

crowdfundingA parody by Stephen Colbert reminded me of a project that projected great benefits to potential investors.  On a recent show, Colbert mocked the Vessyl smart cup. The designers of the cup claim that it can distinguish between a cappuccino or a black coffee with the added benefit of tracking your caloric intake and how much sugar and caffeine you are ingesting.

This full-of-potential-cup has hit the market half empty of promise:  It only tracks how much water you are drinking and sells for $99.

This hoopla and hype reminds me of a crowd funding project that cost me somewhere around a $100 to get 3 or 4 tracking devices.   It sounded like an inexpensive way to track an expensive or important item.  After syncing the device to a smartphone, you attach it to whatever you want to track and then monitor the location on the screen of your phone.

Since Hank, my dog, is a prized companion, I attached a chip to his collar and said, “Alright,” which Hank interprets as, and “I’m free to run.”   I watched the blip on my phone for about 10 seconds and then it disappeared.

After I whistled Hank in, I contacted the company.  I was informed that the device was for finding things like a lost set of car keys in your house, and could only track items within a short distance—10 to 15 feet not a block or two.

Projects like these offer the hope of riches, wealth, and an easier way of life, but they can be empty promises.  When I read the story about the Vessyl, it reminded me of the wise words of Solomon:

  • A greedy person is in a hurry to get rich, but he is ignorant of the loss that is about to overtake him. Proverbs 28:22
  • One man pretends to be rich but has nothing; another pretends to be poor but has great wealth. Proverbs 13:7

The safest investment you will ever make is not going to found on Wall Street or in in a crowd funding project, it will always be Jesus:

“I assure you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house, brothers or sisters, mother or father, children, or fields because of Me and the gospel,  who will not receive 100 times more, now at this time—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and eternal life in the age to come.  But many who are first will be last, and the last first (Mark 10:29-31).”

The High Cost of Faith

google-analytics-demographicsThe closer a person gets to retiring, the more focused he is on making good investments.  All investment decisions are important–including those associated with faith and missions.

The findings of Gil Anger, concerning the work of Christian missionaries, shed some light on this question (Statistic Brain Research Institute):

  • There are 419,000 people who are classified as foreign missionaries.
  • There are 26 countries that do not allow missionaries.
  • 629 Billion people have never been evangelized.
  • $250,000,000 is spent annually on Christian foreign missionary work.

The four points above are focused on demographics and dollars.   Is this an accurate reflection on the high cost of faith?  I don’t think so.  To understand the value of sharing the faith, you need to think of more than just the cost of an arm and a leg—you need to consider the sacrifice of a life.

When he wrote to the church at Corinth, Paul reminded them: “You have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”  The high cost of faith is seen in the immeasurable love of God for you.

When you begin to comprehend the full meaning of being “bought at a price,” I hope you will also grasp the fact that in return you are to “glorify God in your body.”    Paul may have had this in mind when he said:

My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

 

Do Dollars and Cents Equal Good Sense?

moneyThe year was 1976, the band was ABBA, and the song was Money Money Money. The song perpetuated the myth that all you have to do to be happy is to have a lot of money and accumulate many possessions.
The first stanza of the song says:

I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay
Ain’t it sad
And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me
That’s too bad
In my dreams I have a plan
If I got me a wealthy man
I wouldn’t have to work at all, I’d fool around and have a ball…

I’m not criticizing wealth, but I do not believe a hefty bank account guarantees happiness. Let me give you a contrast:

• If you are looking for a home, I hope you realize you cannot buy one. You can buy a house, but your family makes the home.
• If you get sick, you can buy the most expensive medicine in the world, but you still can’t buy health.
• You can buy the best seats at a sporting arena, but that does not mean you can purchase friendship.
• People invest a small fortune in a good bed, but the newly purchased mattress can’t guarantee a good night’s sleep.

Things or possessions will never replace relationships and wanting more will never be as satisfying as a fulfilling relationship with God.

I’ll wrap this up with three quotes that address the issue of wisdom, wealth, and good sense:

• Will Rogers: “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like.”
• Solomon: “How much better it is to acquire wisdom than gold, and to acquire understanding is more desirable than silver (Proverbs 16:16).”
• Epictetus: “Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”