25 Mar 2015

Are You Like The Prodigal Son...Living Lavishly When You Should Be Frugal?


Today, I want to remind you of a famous story in the bible, Luke 15:11-32; The Parable of The Prodigal Son (Message translation). There are many people who want to eat their cake and also have it. They want to have a financially secure tomorrow- be able to afford anything, anytime, yet they are not willing to make sacrifices or adjust their lifestyle today in order to have that bright tomorrow.

That is what I call 'Prodigal Living.'

Then he said, "There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, 'Father, I want right now what's coming to me.'

"So the father divided the property between them. It wasn't long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt.

He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any. "That brought him to his senses. He said, 'All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I'm going back to my father. I'll say to him, Father, I've sinned against God, I've sinned before you; I don't deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.'

He got right up and went home to his father. "When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: 'Father, I've sinned against God, I've sinned before you; I don't deserve to be called your son ever again.' "But the father wasn't listening. He was calling to the servants, 'Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We're going to feast! We're going to have a wonderful time! My son is here--given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!'

And they began to have a wonderful time. "All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day's work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on. He told him, 'Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast--barbecued beef!--because he has him home safe and sound.' The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn't listen. The son said, 'Look how many years I've stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends. Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!' "His father said, 'Son, you don't understand. You're with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours--but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he's alive! He was lost, and he's found!'"

Many of us are like that young man; we want to have the best of both worlds..or is it all worlds?
We want to live the best life now, and yet expect that tomorrow will take care of itself.

But like I always say, "Nothing just happens, you have to make it happen."

If you want to be rich and comfortable, you must be frugal.

Not because you don't deserve the best, or life's luxuries now, but because you understand that the best things come to those who wait, and plan, to have what they desire. Billionaires like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Ivar Kamprad, are all simple people. Yet, you will see young Nigerians who have not yet achieved anything worthwhile in life, trying to live big and impress people who don't care about their existence. lol.

I tell young people that truly rich people don't do things to impress others. Rich men don't buy clothes, houses, or cars because they want to...they buy them because they have to.

If a truly rich person wears something expensive, it is because he can afford it. And even if he doesn't buy expensive things, it doesn't change the fact that he can afford it. But when you use credit card, or take loan to buy things you can't afford to impress people who don't care, you are mortgaging your future financial dreams, security and happiness.

When you mortgage your house, you know that it is still yours. Unfortunately, when you mortgage your dreams and financial future, you lose it!
The earlier we realized this, the better for us.

Please don't be like Nigerian politicians who live prodigiously off the commonwealth, and lavish state funds, thinking they have arrived. What they don't know is that they are only imprisoning themselves (to their bad habits) and enslaving the generations unborn to debt, because -like happened to the prodigal son- famine comes right after we spend up our wealth (it always does come). And then, we will be forced to live in squalor and pity because we chose not to live frugally.


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