Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bad Investments

'An anonymous bidder on eBay has agreed to pay $2.5 million for a lunch date with billionaire investor, Warren Buffett.' How utterly absurd! Buffett’s fundraiser to raise money for his late wife’s charity is not a new thing, but this year the amount raised has far exceeded any previous figure. What makes the whole thing more unusual is that Buffett is the quintessential mega rich guy who does not believe in throwing his money around. He drives an old Lincoln car, he lives in the same house he bought on a corner block next to traffic lights in the 1970s, and years ago he refused his adult daughter a loan to remodel her kitchen. In more recent years he has relented and now pays his middle aged kids a modest allowance every few years of a few million, and though he does still own a second hand car, he has also bought himself a private jet (for business reasons of course).
In one sense Buffett would be appalled that someone would waste $2.5 million on having lunch with him. Buffett would figure that surely the money could be more wisely invested. Imagine paying all that money to lunch with the man they call the Oracle of Omaha, only to sit down and have Warren laugh at you for being such a fool to waste millions of dollars having lunch with him. 
In the Old Book we read a story of a rich investor who met the Oracle of Nazareth, Jesus Christ. This meeting was a free consultation, when a rich man asked the poor prophet what he could do to inherit eternal life. Unlike Buffett, who has planned to give away all his money when he dies, this rich guy was keen to hang onto his money and find if there was a way to maybe even buy his way to immortality. Jesus offered the rich guy some sagely spiritual advice, which proved a little too expensive. After a question, which exposed the rich man's inability to determine his own true spiritual bankruptcy, Jesus' advice was simple:
“You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  (Luke 18: 22)
Jesus' words were tailored for this specific man, whose success financially was a bi-product of his worship of all things material. On many occasions Jesus warned that to know God was to forsake all other false gods, and for the rich man his eternal future was in peril if his confidence was in money alone. Tragically for this rich man, and for many since, the cost of giving up his gods of gold was too great.
When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.  Luke 18: 23 

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