Suppose you made a million dollars per year. Would that set you up for life? Would it give you financial security for the future? Well, apparently not if you’re a professional athlete. According to a report in Investment News, 78 percent of NFL players are bankrupt or under financial stress within two years of retirement. Sports Illustrated similarly reports that 60 percent of NBA players are in serious financial trouble within five years of retirement.
Knowing what some professional athletes make, we’re astounded to learn that many of them will end up struggling to pay their bills within a few years of their last game. How can that be?
The two biggest culprits, according to the reports, are divorces and joblessness. Many former athletes also cite the social pressures of trying to sustain a luxurious lifestyle. Others fall prey to friends and family members wanting them to invest in unwise ventures.
It’s not enough to have a job that simply takes care of today’s needs. Somehow we need to manage wisely for the future.
Many of today’s companies offer retirement, investment and insurance benefits that help ease our minds regarding the future. One insurance company even uses two upturned palms to assure us that we’re in good hands when we’re in their care. Yet we know by hard reality there’s not much security in our world or its economy. We don’t know what a day will bring forth. Riches can disappear in a moment. Jobs vanish. Savings and investments can turn sour. Stocks decline. Economies crash. As Proverbs 27:24 says, “Riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations.”
As Christians, we don’t depend on the world for ultimate security. For us, the eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. We have a hope that endures; for when Jesus comes into our lives, He comes with abiding security. He not only died to forgive our sins; He rose from the dead to give us eternal life. His resurrection supplies the power, provision and pattern for our own resurrections. Because He lives, we will live also.
John’s Gospel drives this home. At the end of his Gospel, John stated his purpose in writing it—that we might believe in Christ and have eternal life (John 20:31). He similarly ended his little letter of 1 John by telling us he had written it that we might know we have eternal life (1 John 5:13). Throughout his writing, John used the phrases “eternal life” and “everlasting life” 23 times. For example, Jesus told us in John 10:26-29: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”
The future just doesn’t get any more secure than that!
Jeremiah, senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church, is the founder of Turning Point, a ministry committed to providing Christians with sound Bible teaching relevant to today’s changing times through radio and television, the Internet, live events, and resource materials and books.