“Money. You…..you think I want money? What I want is my morning back. I need you to give my time back to me. Can you give me back my time? Can you give my time back to me? Huh? Can you?” — Doyle Gipson, Changing Lanes
An old friend called to tell me about his new “business.” He told me about his business mentor and his associates, how people are finally making what they’re worth. “You might be able to cash in, too,” he said.
Translation: pyramid scheme.
Every now and again, someone I know is seduced by the lust of get-rich-quick schemes. Some are more susceptible to this than others, and chase every opportunity that comes along. Without fail, they all involve network marketing, promises of freedom, great wealth, and no real industry competence. Success stories are told, and track records are presented. And all these schemes require money up front. Someone does have to get paid somewhere.
Such schemes always involve talk of living a whole life, being balanced and a good person.
Friends want to find a way to make more money, and they try to sell me on their ideas.
No one tries to sell me inner peace, self-control or self-knowledge.
No one tries to sell me a means of reconciling my fragmented family.
No one tries to sell me simplicity, focus, vision, wisdom.
Perhaps these just aren’t marketable enough.
Give me a pyramid scheme to create more time, more joy, to find great self-awareness. Don’t my friends know that I want something more valuable than a get-rich-quick scheme? I’d rather pursue something for which I have some deep need than chase those greenbacks over which others breathe so heavily.
Perhaps money comes easier than anything of real substance because in the end, it has less lasting value.
No network or pyramid can offer the things I really want and need. A financial windfall doesn’t overcome loneliness or the problems in a broken family. Large residual income cannot satisfy, save for a little financial security. At the end of the day, longings for wholeness, a valuable life, redemption and deep friendships remain with me. Money doesn’t meet those needs.
What I need comes in the form of people and experience, not commodities and securities. I want more than they can offer.
So I turned down this friend, as I do all those who offer quick paydays. I’m drawn to Jesus’ track record, his bolder offer and more generous terms. I’m throwing in with his offer of an easy yoke and a light burden.
What do schools, pyramid schemes, jobs and other institutions promise?
What does Jesus offer?
Who more accurately meets your needs? Who is more capable of doing so?
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