He Who Has the Most Toys Win
Excerpts taken from my latest book Rich for Life: Secrets of Those Who Stayed Rich for Life and How You Can be One that is on sale for only $4.99 till the end of March.
Luke 12:15 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
The desire to accumulate stuff to feel good. Greenhills is a city where the love for stuff abounds. I believe the reason God has called us to plant a church in this city is because God wants to redeem our economy and our finances.
I could still remember a time I was walking in Greenhills to buy some personal stuff. As I was walking I would feel a sense of coveting things. It was as if there was a voice saying BUY ME! BUY ME! BUY ME! I knew I don’t need it but it was just so easy to spend my money on things I don’t really have an intention to buy.
Hearing stories of so many broke people who live in big houses, driving top of the line cars, eating in fancy restaurants that they can’t afford is disheartening. People have been forced to play a part they can’t afford because of the spirit of materialism.
One of my close friends and now a pastor in our church, Larry has a very powerful story of God’s redemptive work in his life. There was a time Larry had accumulated a credit card debt worth millions of pesos. He was a stuffaholic – he collected toys and display it in his toy museum, buy expensive clothes, eat in fancy restaurants, treating everyone out for lunch and he just swiped away using his credit card. Little by little his debt accumulated and with the high interest rates of credit card companies today he woke up one day with millions of debt. Here is his story:
At 31 years old I was living the life of the rich and famous complete with champagne & caviar dreams until the bubbles started popping. Among the dream that I lived in was p15,000. per hour rental of a yacht whenever friends or family is vacationing in Subic. I remember the time when I bought a Sea Ray 5-seater jet boat. I just stepped out of our villa in Subic and when I got back I surprised Margaret with a contract with the picture of a $6,000. Boat I just purchased with my credit card. I remember justifying to her that doing so would be cheaper than always renting when we are vacationing. The docking fee for the said boat was p4,000 a month. Among the other luxuries I enjoined were parties for friends at my favorite Paseo Uno, luxury cars, country club memberships, millions spent in trips overseas, his & hers Rolex watches and Christmas shopping sprees at Rustan’s complete with their assistant manager acting as concierge.
I was so lost in the dream that there were times that I had to literally pinch myself for reality check. I really thought I was very rich & that there was no limit in my spending. At one point I had 8-10 credit cards and the total credit limit can buy a BMW, which I almost all the time maxed out. I was living the dream, but the dream was being financed thru debts over debts, interests over compounding interests. I needed half a million monthly just to pay off the minimum on my credit cards & interests on my personal loans, which doesn’t really pay off the principal. I had personal loans with 8% monthly interests that I kept for years. I was even proud of the fact that I can get personal loans without collateral.
When I’m pressed against the wall every time a loan would be due & I needed fresh funds. I would open my Gideon Bible, one I got from a hotel, and start praying. This never fails because moments later the phone would ring or I would receive a message offering me loans at 2.5% to 8%. And I really thought that it was an answered prayer. All changed when I started having a relationship with God 2006 then the turn around was 2008 when our friend Dennis invited me to join a seminar being conducted by Crowne Financial, the seminar has just barely started but I got the principle already. Why I was so deep in debt & I have a big problem with contentment is because: first, I never acknowledged God as the true source of my blessings; second, I am just a manager & had to be good steward because I am accountable to Him and third, all of the things that I enjoy can be wiped away from me in a snap.
But it was not that easy, I had to reconstruct my loans, pay off debts and during that time that I still had a business, I had to do away with old habits of having chopsuey finances , meaning mixed up business & personal finances. Then a lifestyle check, I was living way above my means so I had to have a complete over haul of my lifestyle. No more country club meetings, gone are the branded wardrobe, no more monthly trips to the salon that costs thousands and we even had to trip to the bare essential the monthly house hold expenditures that included letting go of some staff.
Now that I have been reformed, blessings pour in with less human effort & more grace. I believe that God sees me now as a better steward & He sees my heart content & focus more on Him rather than His gifts. I am so happy also that from what I learn I can teach them to my kids so that they don’t have to commit the same mistakes. Also for them to early on grasps the Biblical & right principles on handling money & about contentment. I can say that fame & fortune became an idol at one point in my life & I’m just glad that I found God and that He is now the true source of peace & joy for me.