That's all I could say when I heard about Antoine Walker, a player I watched play NBA basketball up close in Dallas—though his best days were with the Celtics. It turns out that he was arrested for writing bad checks… and that he's in debt about 4 million dollars to various banks. That would be amazing enough, but it's truly amazing considering Antoine Walker is younger than I am and has earned more than 110 MILLION dollars throughout his NBA career. At 33, it's all gone…and then some. Now, he's facing jail time.
The last thing I want to do is throw another brick in Antoine Walker's backpack. He is currently learning some of life's most painful lessons. He's also not the only one to have made serious financial mistakes. Most people, regardless of how much they make, will make some BIG financial miscues along the way. Numerous lottery winners have gone bankrupt just a few months or years later. You can read some of those stories here. Small business owners may overextend themselves. Young couples dig large financial holes that take years to recover from.
As easy as it is to look at others and say, "How could they?" We must always allow Scripture to ask us the tough questions first. It asks and answers a lot with just these few lines: "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." "No one can serve two masters." "Don't worry about what you will eat or drink." "Freely you have received, freely give." There are many, many more to choose from.
For whatever reason, many Christians continue to view money as something peripheral to their walk with Christ…disregarding the both the clear testimony of the Word and common sense. Money isn't at the periphery of discipleship…it's near the core. It's about Jesus' Lordship, and it's about "taking hold of the life that is truly life," to use Paul's words from 1 Timothy 6.
These are tough times. Really tough. Today, even people who little or no responsibility for their predicament are suffering. But, it's in times like these that we can sometimes see more clearly the way of discipleship when it comes to money and possessions. Times like these help us clarify our priorities. My prayer is that it does the same for Antoine Walker. He is still young, and he has his whole life ahead of him. It can be an abundant life…regardless of his checking account balance. God wants all of His children to take hold of the life that is truly life. But, God has put the ball in His court.