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How do you lose 17 billion dollars?

Farmers Independent of Bagley, Minnesota

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Theology in the Trenches

It was a simple enough question but maybe not. After all, seventeen billion is a lot of money. The question was posed to an individual who had incurred the loss, and according to the article, it had happened rather quickly.

"He should have just given it to me. I would have put it under my pillow and he would still have every cent!" I wasn't trying to be funny. I was just thinking aloud as I tried to figure out how one loses that much money before putting the plug back into the drain from which it was escaping. Then again, I'm no business major, so perhaps I don't understand the ins and outs of the world in which this individual lives. That loss is staggering. One billion is enough to boggle my mind, much less seventeen billion.

It got me to thinking how much goes down my drain by nickel and diming it so to speak. Ten bucks here, a hundred there and on it goes. People walk by pennies without even stopping to pick them up it's "only a penny."

However, losing seventeen billion? Where did it go? Does someone else have it now? Did the value in whatever they were investing in deflate that rapidly so it now simply is no more? And, if that can happen, what else can happen in the world of investments? That is precisely why I get up and go to work each day to earn my predictable paycheck. I like the certainty even though the earning potential is nowhere near the figures headlined here. At least I know I can count on the amount agreed upon for said number of hours for job completed. Input...output... I get that.

It's obvious that I do not like risks. In fact, years ago when talking to our investor, I had him place any and all of my nickels and dimes into an account that had absolutely no risk. And, with no risk, comes no huge gains. However, it also insures no huge losses. In other words, even though I may not gain as much as I would with higher risk investments, I'm more or less guaranteed to at least not lose it. I like how that feels. I like the comfort zone of small potatoes knowing in what cellar they are stored... so to speak.

I wonder how it felt when Christ risked the investment in us knowing full well some would consider Him gain, while others consider Him loss. Some traded what He offered for gold coins... thinking they were trading up. Reality proved otherwise. It was no deal once those coins were tossed upon the ground and Judas hung from that tree knowing he'd just drained what had been offered. He couldn't see it... and truth be told... many still can't.

So, what investments are under your pillow? I hope you've tucked away Philippians 3:8.

"More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ." Amen.

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Original Publication Date: March 25, 2015

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