NFL – “Not For Long”


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There was a USA Today article the other day that caught my attention. It described how so many NFL (National Football League) players go bankrupt after their career is over. The sobering statistic was that the average football player’s career last only 3.5 years.

This means that after 3 years there are a lot of players who will have to find something else to do to earn a living. But the problem is that the players are not educated and equipped to manage their finances as they enter their rookie year. Therefore, with the allure of fame and fortune, many players end up having financial problems and some even go bankrupt when their careers are over.

Keyshawn Johnson, who was a former number one draft pick and now works as an ESPN analyst sees the trend and coined the NFL as “Not For Long.” He said, “After Uncle Sam comes first, your agent is going to get his cut. Then there’s your wife, girlfriend or baby’s mama. You’re going to hook up your family and homeboys, and get yourself some nice things, like jewelry or some sweet tire rims. By the time you’ve done all of that, you’d be lucky to have $320,000 left.”

We cannot forget that the rookie minimum salary in the NFL is $325,000 USD, which about 7x the average starting salary for a college graduate. It is sad to hear that it is estimated 78% of NFL players will become bankrupt, divorced or unemployed within two years of retirement.

As I was reading this article, I couldn’t help to see some of the similarities with college students who graduate and start their single adult years, as a working professional. As they get their first paycheck, they are amazed at the new financial power. Many end up getting a new car, new wardrobe, new entertainment system, new electronic gadgets, and even possibly put a down payment on a condo.

The sad fact is that many college graduates have not been trained in the area of stewardship. Therefore, after several years out of college, many single adults are in debt. This then puts them in a downward spiral, which affects their ability to steward God’s resources wisely for God’s glory.

This is when the Church really needs to step up and provide various tools so that the college graduate can be equipped to better steward God’s resources. Here are several things that came to my mind:

1) Teach on the importance of stewardship. Before the college graduate starts making the money, it is imperative that there is teaching over the pulpit, as well as classes being offered so that people can learn the biblical perspective on stewardship.

2) Transform the way people see generosity. Often times, people fail to see that generosity is connected to their spiritual lives. The same spiritual muscle that is required to have a constant devotional life is exercised when it comes to giving. If people can see giving as a spiritual discipline then it might just help make the connection with their spiritual growth.

3) Train people in the practical skills of financial management. I was amazed at how people in the church have never learned the principles of tithing and offering. As you probe further, you will realize that many have never learned how to budget either. Sometimes, we just need to be trained up to do the simple but yet practical things to honor God with our financial resources.

4) Team up with financially-sound mentors. Many times we learn the best from people who can walk through things step-by-step with us. It is always helpful to find people who have journeyed on the road and are few steps ahead of us. Sometimes, we can learn the best by observing others and asking them for advice.

I will never forget the time when in the early years of our church, I challenged the graduating seniors that once they get a job to tithe their first paycheck to the Lord. The reasons I gave were twofold: 1) It will remind you that it was God who provided you with the job, therefore learn how to be thankful by giving; 2) It will help you to hold things loosely because just as God gave you the job, He can take it away at any moment.

Whether it was a lack of faith or my lack of confidence in people’s obedience, I was flabbergasted when I found out that there were several people who took up the challenge and wrote a check to the church after receiving their first paycheck.

We would love to see more people raised up in our church who are magnanimous and missions-minded so that they can leverage their resources for the building of God’s Kingdom. Oh what God can do with a church like that in our generation!

Spiritual ENTREPRENEUR, Church EQUIPPER, Leadership EDUCATOR, Ideas EXPERIMENTER & Global EXPLORER who is trying to transform lives and transform the world.
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