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Thoughts of Ransom

March 26th, 2009

Focus Text: Proverbs 13: 8 (NLT)

 8 The rich can pay a ransom for their lives,
      but the poor won’t even get threatened.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

One of my favorite movies is Ransom.  In this film, Mel Gibson plays the part of an extremely rich man who’s son is targeted and kidnapped by a crooked policeman.  As the always chilling ransom phone call comes in (as it always does in any ransom-themed movie), the villain is shocked to hear Mel Gibson–a seemingly polished and spoiled rich dude– vehemently refuse to pay the ransom.  

Thus the game begins as the drama unfolds before us.  A father begins a bitter journey to track down the kidnapper while the criminal continually threatens to kill the father’s son.  The only problem is, the kidnapper knows that if he does kill the boy that he eliminates his chance to receive the ransom money.  The father and the criminal come to this amazingly dramatic impasse at which neither are willing to budge on their position.

Not to ruin the movie for you (which I am not at all endorsing for you to watch; again, just an illustration to prove a point), but after a long campaign with multiple millions of dollars in rewards offered for the capture of the criminal, all the kidnappers are caught or killed . . . all except the crooked cop ringleader who Mel takes out himself at the very end in true Lethal Weapon/Braveheart/The Patriot fashion.

Interesting movie, but even a more interesting revelation of the truth of this passage.  Kidnappings happen all the time in our world, especially in Latin America.  Ransoms are big business in these areas where  law enforcement is often corrupt and government is often lax.  But you know what, very seldom does someone kidnap and hold for ransom a homeless person.  Who are they going to call to demand money from?  Where is this money going to come from?  It just doesn’t make sense.

Ransoms are demanded from those who can afford to pay them.  Sounds simple enough.  So what in the blue blazes does that have to do with us?  Consider the passage: “The rich can pay a ransom for their lives, but the poor won’t even get threatened.”  

What we can take from passages like these are applicable truths about the nature of money and life.  You see, we are consumed with the idea that having a load of money would eliminate the bulk of our daily problems.  We truly think that if we had no bills and no anxiety over car payments, mortgages, cell phone bills, and insurance premiums that life would take on a different shade of color . . . and indeed it would.  Trust me, I believe that having adequate funds to live and function is always superior to struggling to make ends meet.

The fault in our logic lies in the misconception that money will make our worries and problems go away.  This passage is just one example of a problem that the extremely rich must worry about that the poor never even consider . . . and I doubt that it’s the only one.  In fact, consider that the rich commit suicide as much or more than the poor.  Consider that they still have anxiety disorders, high divorce rates, and stress-related health issues.  Though having money is most definitely a blessing, it is not a cure-all.

I speak today of something I don’t completely understand since I am less-than-wealthy by American standards.  Solomon sure knew what he was talking about though!  Being rich doesn’t equate a life of no worries; it brings its own to the party.  We must still be continually seeking the correct eternal dividends in our lives.  Only the relationship with the Father who’s Son did indeed pay the ultimate ransom for our freedom will bring fulfillment, joy, and meaning to our existence . . . no matter how much or how little is in our wallet at the time.

Just ask Mel . . . money doesn’t fix everything.  Oh, and don’t try to kidnap his son or he’ll “go Braveheart” on you!  Nice.


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