The money quote (ha! get it?) from this Businessweek article on a recent Federal Reserve report on the financial state of U.S. households:
Just 45 percent of upper-middle-class households (income from $75,000 to $99,999) saved anything in 2012, according to the Fed study. That means the other 55 percent didn’t save for a house, retirement, or education. About 16 percent spent more than they earned and went further into debt. The report highlights the consequences of these hand-to-mouth habits: Only half of these households had enough savings to finance three months of living expenses if they lost their job or couldn’t work. A $400 emergency would force about 20 percent of them into months of debt.
This is contrary to how God wants us to live. Consider just these Bible verses:
The clutter is a sign, a symptom. I’m avoiding the work, some of it because it’s hard and I’m not sure how to do it, some because it’s boring and doesn’t interest me, and some because I keep forgetting to get it done on a regular basis, mainly because it’s mixed up with everything else.
[The Cubs are] building an offense from within and a pitching staff from spare parts. This flies in the face of more than a century of conventional baseball wisdom, which states that (1) pitching wins championships, and (2) a team can never have too much pitching. The Cubs’ approach is completely counterintuitive. It’s also completely right.
This isn’t the year. And maybe not next year. But soon.
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)
Eighteen years ago, as my friend and I parted our separate ways to college, the reference to these verses are what he wrote inside the front cover of a devotional he gave me. I never considered them before; I have recalled them to mind often since. They have encouraged me and I have used them to try to encourage others. There is so much power in God’s Word. There is so much power in giving it away.
Time is precious, and we are concerned to be good husbands of it, because eternity depends upon it, and it is hastening apace into eternity, but abundance of it is wasted in unprofitable converse. To tell or hear the new occurrences of providence concerning the public in our own or other nations, and concerning our neighbours and friends, is of good use now and then; but to set up for newsmongers, and to spend our time in nothing else, is to lose that which is very precious for the gain of that which is worth little.
Matthew Henry, commenting on Acts 17:21, contrasting the activity of the Athenians with the instruction in 1 Tim. 4:13-15 to give attendance to reading and meditation, from Commentary on the Whole Bible
This search for fame, the lust for material things and the objectification of others—that is, the cycle of grasping and craving—follows a formula that is elegant, simple and deadly:
Love things, use people.
This was Abd al-Rahman’s formula as he sleepwalked through life. It is the worldly snake oil peddled by the culture makers from Hollywood to Madison Avenue. But you know in your heart that it is morally disordered and a likely road to misery. You want to be free of the sticky cravings of unhappiness and find a formula for happiness instead. How? Simply invert the deadly formula and render it virtuous:
Love people, use things.
Easier said than done, I realize. It requires the courage to repudiate pride and the strength to love others—family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, God and even strangers and enemies. Only deny love to things that actually are objects. The practice that achieves this is charity. Few things are as liberating as giving away to others that which we hold dear.
Arthur Brooks on happiness and unhappiness.
Working is hard, but thinking about working is pretty fun. The result is the software industry.
Paul Ford on email software and to-do list software and the reinvention of the same applications
What if I were a kid who looked up to an athlete, and that athlete made me want to do better in my own life, and then he left? How would I react? I’ve met with [Cleveland Cavaliers owner] Dan [Gilbert], face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?
The value our culture places on sports is horribly misaligned with its actual value (I don’t claim a personal exemption from this judgment). The amount of attention given to where LeBron James would play basketball during the 2014-15 season is an example. His essay announcing and explaining his decision to return to Cleveland after four seasons in Miami, though, is absolutely well done:
He recognizes the high value we place on sports and how that impacts life off the court. He knows he is in a unique position to help his hometown area and wants to help.
Contrition and forgiveness for what happened in 2010.
No press conference or TV show. “I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to get to work.”
There has never been a U.S. sports star whose departure from his original team went so poorly have a return quite like this.