Thursday, July 25 2024 - 10:31 AM
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Easy Come, Easy Go

Some years ago, a friend of mine was traveling in the West. He arrived in Las Vegas and checked into a motel. Along with his room key, the desk attendant gave him a card with several quarters attached to it. Believe it or not, it was “seed money” for the slot machines. My friend hadn’t come to Vegas to gamble; nevertheless, with these free quarters, he thought, why not?

So he went to one of the slot machines in the motel lobby, dropped in the first quarter, and pulled the handle. The wheels spun, but the lemons didn’t line up. So he put in another quarter and pulled the handle again. Suddenly quarters began to stream out of the machine, some even falling to the floor. “It was as though I suddenly got a kind of fever,” he said. “I began to feed the quarters back into the machine and pull the handle as fast as I could.” Easy come, easy go.

Then he told me he suddenly realized what he was doing. So he stopped, scooped up the rest of the quarters, and walked out the door!

Big Profit

It was time for our family to return home from a mission assignment. Before we left our post, we sold everything we had. The freight to bring back what was now used furniture was too steep to consider. Besides, in those days furniture and household goods made in America were sought after by the locals, and so I was able to sell almost everything we owned for twice what I had paid for it when it was new. It was a win-win situation for us and them. They were buying coveted American-made products, and we were saving the cost of shipping back used furniture.

When everything was finally sold and gone, I found I had doubled my original investment. And so we returned to the states to set up housekeeping again. Happily, we discovered we were able to buy everything new and still have ten thousand dollars left in the bank. It was the most money I had ever had and surely the easiest that I had ever made. And in 1970, ten thousand dollars was worth much more than it is now. For instance, that year I paid only $3,300 for a new Pontiac Bonneville. Easy come, easy go.

Silent Partners

A year or so later, I read somewhere that a man was looking for people to go into business with him as silent partners in a chain of religious bookstores. He promised to pay 18% interest. As a newly rich family man with a bulging bank account, I got excited with the prospect of doubling my money every five years. I wanted to do the right thing, so I asked my friends what they thought. They were cautious. “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket,” they advised me. “Be careful, move slowly, and do your homework” others said.

But, I was not looking for good advice; I was looking for someone who would agree with me. Finally, I could stand it no longer. I called up the entrepreneur and told him that I wanted to go into partnership. He flew to Seattle where I was living and was a nice guy. He didn’t put me under any pressure. For me, it had been easy come, and now I was going to make my nest egg grow. I felt so clever. So we drew up the papers.

Bad News

Now, it so happened that within a year we accepted another mission assignment. We hadn’t been out of the country long when I received a letter from the bankruptcy court. The store had failed, and it and all my money went down the drain. Easy come, easy go.

These two experiences—my friend’s and mine—are perfect examples of what Proverbs 13:11 means when it says, “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labor shall increase.”

I hadn’t worked for my money, but I had doubled the money once and I wanted to see if I could do it again. I figured I was, as they say, on a roll. Looking back, I can say with surety that if I had saved that same amount of money from my paycheck over a period of years, I wouldn’t have been so quick to make such a risky deal.

The point of the text is this: the easier we make money, the easier it is to spend. And the flip side applies as well. The harder we have to work for our money, the more careful we are when we spend it. It pays to be cautious and prudent in the area of financial responsibilities.

A young man once boasted to me that he had a good job—it paid well, and he hardly had to work to earn it. I wanted to tell him, “Look out, fellow! Easy come, easy go.”

If you liked this, you might also like Tips for Saving Money | What Does the Bible Say About Gambling? 

Written by Richard O’Ffill

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About Richard O'Ffill

Richard O'Ffill

has written many articles and books.

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