ESPN 30 for 30: BROKE and the Human Heart

Last night I watched ESPN’s latest 30 for 30 installment called BROKE.  I really enjoyed it.  It was a fascinating look into sports culture and the devastating effects of instant wealth for professional athletes who come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.

I really enjoyed Broke for several reasons:

  1. I’m glad I’m not rich.  Seriously!  I thought these former wealthy athletes who once had it all and now have nothing said it best, “Mo money, mo problems.”  They all seem to indicate that they wish they had come into all that money later in life.  They all bemoaned the fact that all their wealth and fame brought about more problems and pain than they could ever imagine.
  2. It made me thankful.  I’m thankful to hear about their problems that they had in their 20s and 30s, and to now hear the wisdom that they have gained from their mistakes now that they are in the 40s, 50s, and 60s.  You can tell these men has “grown up” and seen the foolishness of their youth.  I try to listen and glean wisdom from anyone who cries out in the same tone and tenor as King Solomon, “It’s meaningless.  It does not satisfy.  I’ve tried it all and had it all and it can not and will not bring you happiness.”
  3. It made me mad.  I hate sin…I really do.  I most especially hate my own sin.  But I hated to see how sin ruined the lives of many of these professional athletes who had so much going for them (at least from a worldly perspective).  There is one area that most of these men missed the reason for all their problems….and it wasn’t money, nor was it that they are now all broke (financially).

What these men did not report was that there was something far more “broke” with them than they realized, their hearts.  They were spiritually bankrupt.  Jeremiah 17:9 lays it out for us,

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

We could substitute the word broke for sick.  The Bible makes it clear that our hearts are broken (Romans 3:23) and that we desperately need a Savior to repair them (Romans 3:24).

Another theme that was continually repeated throughout the film Broke was one of the most mis-quoted Scriptures in all of the Bible.  You’ve heard it before, “Money is the root of all evil.”  It sounds good, doesn’t it?  It sounds true! Therefore we just go along with it and agree, “Yes! That’s the problem. We should get rid of all money because it’s evil!”  But as we have clearly stated before, the problem is not money, it is the heart.  

This often misquoted verse comes from 1 Timothy:

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
(1 Timothy 6:10 ESV)

The Apostle Paul never said “money is the root of all evil.”  The Bible states implicitly and explicitly that the “love of money” births “all kinds of evils.”  Money is not the root of evil.  Our sinful, broken hearts are the root of evil.  Our sinful hearts take things like money and make them into an idol (to put money in the place of God). Money does not cause “many pangs,” it simply exposes what’s already in the heart.

When we give ourselves over to this form of idolatry and make money our object of worship we get what these men in Broke self-describe as brokenness, pangs (I love this word – sharp, instant emotional pain), diaster, “mo problems”, and in many cases utter ruin.

I’m glad these men went on camera to tell their story.  It is a story we all can relate to.  We’ve all given our lives over to something that we though could satisfy but it simply left us broken.  This is not a bad thing because God uses brokenness to bring us back to Him and to show us that only Jesus can satisfy.

I love this song…it’s called Satisfied, and I think it tells the story of how Jesus is our “untold wealth” that never fails us and never fails to satisfy.  

All my life long – I had panted – for a drink from some cool spring…That I hoped would – quench the burning – of thirst I felt within.


Chorus: Hallelujah!  He has found me, the One my soul so long has craved! Jesus satisfies – all my longings – through his blood I now am saved.


Feeding on the – filth around me – ‘till my strength was almost gone. Longed my soul for – something better – only still to hunger on.


Poor I was and – sought for riches – something that would satisfy. But the dust I – gathered ‘round me – only mocked my soul’s sad cry.


Well of water – ever springing – Bread of Life so rich and free. Untold wealth that – never faileth – my Redeemer is to me.

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