OK. The pump and hype is all over now. The excitement has died down now. What was touted as the fight of the century is now a simple memory - a chapter recorded in the boxing's book of history. Why is it important that I write about this event now? Good question. I'll tell you.
During the build-up for this fight, some people decided to add in an element that drew my attention: they touted this fight as a fight between a "Christian" and a heathen. Some people took away the names of the participants (fighters) and substituted their lifestyles, as if it were two lifestyles, two religions heading into battle in the squared ring on May 2, 2015. And when Pacquiao (the Christian) lost, some people decided to throw cheap shots such as: Well, the Christian lost; the Christian God lost; the "world" just defeated the church; etc.
Let me first dispel a myth: In boxing, it's not about your religion; it's about your training, conditioning, and focus. Leave religion out of the ring. There is no such thing as a Christian boxer, no more than there is a such thing as a Christian football player. When a football player who is a Christian tackles an opponent, we don't say, "The Lord just sacked so-and-so," or "That was an anointed tackle." Why, then, do we see the boxing ring any different? I saw two professionals step into the ring - nothing more, nothing less. One man happened to be the better fighter that night. One man is truly at the top of his game in the boxing industry, having trained extremely hard and crafted his art to perfection over the years. And no, I'm not going into a whole bunch of commentary on the technicalities of training, etc. That's not the purpose of this blog. I do, however, want to touch on a very interesting comparison though: I want to take a moment to see...who is wealthier, and who truly came out the winner.
Of course, I can hear someone saying now, "Timothy, you must be brain-dead. Everyone knows who's wealthier and who won the fight: Mayweather!" I've noticed that. I saw the fight. I saw the purse. I know this fight raised over $400 million. I know Mayweather took home over a $180 million, and Pacquiao over $120 million. I know that Mayweather was richer than Pacquiao entering into this fight, and now he's that much more richer exiting out of the fight. I know. But I also know what many people don't know: true wealth isn't measured in terms of money and material possessions, and true victory isn't measured in terms of worldly accomplishments.
To highlight the religious aspect that was so loudly proclaimed by many during the build-up of this fight, yes it was an interesting scenario, one that garnered support for Pacquiao on the grounds of something other than pure boxing skills. People were generally rooting for Pacquiao simply because...he's a "good" guy. Pacquiao is a Christian who believes in living modestly, morally, and generously. He is a congressman in his country and he seeks to hoist his people from the clutches of poverty and despair. Pacquiao is the complete opposite of Mayweather: low-key and humble. Mayweather, on the other-hand, gladly throws money at the cameras as if 'making it rain' for the production crew; he brags and shows off all that he has, from his fleet of luxury cars, lavish home, even the female servants he has scrubbing his backside in a Coming To America type manner...while wearing thongs. Mayweather celebrates by hiring strippers and fornicating. Sure, Mayweather reaches back and gives to the homeless, but he certainly places more emphasis on materialism in his lifestyle than anything else. It's not the money; it's the immodesty and 'throw it in your face' attitude and lifestyle that had many wishing - even against their intuition - that Mayweather would lose. That's understandable.
It is obvious who Pacquiao's God is: God Jehovah (the God of the Bible). It's also obvious who Mayweather's god is (the being he lives for): Mammon (money), the god Jesus mentioned in Luke chapter 16. I can see how many people so desperately wanted Jehovah to knock out Mammon on the grandest stage in the boxing world before millions of people. This isn't uncommon...nor is it a new thing.
Remember The Rumble in the Jungle? Remember the hype and build up for that fight? The same was thought about Muhammed Ali and George Foreman. Foreman was actually disliked by the people of Zaïre, Africa, where the fight was being held, who saw him as a symbol of American culture who lost touch with his African ancestry. The people would even chant "Ali, boma ye," which is translated: "Ali, kill him." Imagine walking into an arena where everyone is calling for your death, whether literally or figuratively? Not pleasant. It gave the people there a sense of elation to see Foreman get knocked out in the last round. George Foreman - the all-American, "Mr. American Apple Pie" who clung to American culture and traditions - was knocked out by Ali, the anti-American establishment spokesperson for oppression who openly criticized American hypocrisy and racism and joined himself to a religion that has a long history of...despising America as a great Satan: Islam. Foreman, after his fight, became a Christian and minister of the Gospel. Muhammed Ali is still a practitioner of Islam. Ali won the fight in the ring, but Foreman apparently won the fight in life.
George Foreman has made more money in his post-fight career than all the years he spent fighting in the ring. George Foreman's name is on household items such as the George Foreman Griller (one of the best cooking devices ever created, by the way). Foreman's mind is as sharp as a tack, his health is still superb, he even travels with the likes of Donald Trump and Robert Kiosaki ("Rich Dad, Poor Dad") conducting wealth-building seminars before sold-out crowds, and more. Unfortunately, "the greatest" (Ali) doesn't have the same post-fight record. His health is in poor shape due to Parkinson's Disease, he can barely move around, there aren't many inventions (if any) that can be attributed to him; and here's the worse part, the part that makes the difference between a Mayweather and a Pacquiao: George Foreman knows Christ, is saved, and is heaven-bound, having treasure (true wealth) stored up for him in heaven; Ali, on the other-hand, is on the path headed in the opposite direction.
"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" - Mark 8:36.
You do realize that you can't take that house, that car, that "ice" (jewelry), those clothes, that "paper" (money), and even that status (praise, accolades, world's admiration of you, worldly reputation, etc.) into the afterlife, don't you? Once you're dead, none of that matters anymore. People can cry at your funeral, lie and claim that you're in heaven with the Lord, beat on the top of your gold casket, sing songs and reminisce over how awesome a person, singer, rapper, actor/actress, performer, entrepreneur, inventor, CEO, fighter, radio and/or television personality, etc. you were, but none of that will deliver your soul from the flames of hell. You'll find yourself looking up from hell at the funeral, wishing you had another chance, wishing you could have made the most important decision, which is to surrender your life to and live for Christ Jesus. None of the activities that go on above ground will affect or help you...once you're down there. You have to be a very short-sighted person to focus all of your attention on living for the moment, which is temporary (the Bible says in James chapter 5 that life is like a "vapor, here one minute and gone the next") and not preparing for eternity. Actually, Jesus calls you a fool if you live like that. Here's what Jesus said:
"Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God" (Luke 12:21, New Living Translation).
When God calls you a fool, you're a fool. He calls people fools who put no stock in the afterlife, but spend all of their time investing into that which lasts the lifespan of a vapor: this life on earth. Those who live for luxury and materialism, those who live for the praise of men, those who live for themselves and not God's will, those whose ultimate goal is to serve their fleshly appetites while ignoring their spiritual conditions, God calls them fools. They know they aren't ready to die. They know they aren't ready to stand before God and give an account for how they lived. They know they aren't on the "straight and narrow path", but are instead on the "broad road that leads to destruction" (Matthew 7:14). They know that hell is where they're headed due to their decision to live an unrepentant life. They know! But they just don't care. Foolish!
Death can strike at any moment. You can't buy your way into heaven. You can't work your way into heaven. You can't buy enough turkeys for the poor, provide enough toys for the underprivileged, and give enough to charity to make it into heaven. The only way to store up treasures in heaven and secure a spot in the land where gold is nothing but pavement to be walked upon (Revelation chapters 21 and 22 describe heaven as having streets made out of gold; so, what we live our lives for on earth is nothing more than pavement up there) is to accept Jesus as your Lord (the word "lord" means "owner") and Savior, and choose to live according to His will. There's nothing wrong with having money. Money can serve God's will and purpose. But living for money, loving money, and allowing the pursuit of money to become your life's mission is what puts you in the path of God's wrath. Thinking that your money can secure you, sustain you, and save you is what will cost you your soul. Living for material gain is what will cost you an eternity in heaven and earn you an eternity in hell. Jesus told us in Luke 12:15, "Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own." He then proceeded to tell a parable of a man who waited his whole life to get rich; and after finally striking it big (getting rich), God took his life - that man didn't even get to enjoy the wealth he had just acquired, and he died while in an unrepentant state, thereby losing his soul to the flames of hell.
Guard your heart and beware . . . lest you think a man is successful because he drives a fancier car, lives in a bigger house, has a couple of fancy yachts and private jets, and can buy anything he wants on earth. Beware . . . lest you fall prey to the worldly thinking that suggests material gain is a sign of God's approval and favor over a person's life, and you ignore the many intangibles that reveal God's presence (God's peace, joy, love, anointing, Fruit of the Spirit, purpose for living, etc.). Beware . . . lest you end up focusing all of your attention on getting money and praise and attention from men, and you forget that God is going to judge your motives for every work which you've done in judgment (1 Corinthians 3:12). Beware . . . lest you begin to put confidence in your network and connections and lose God's presence. Beware . . . lest you become arrogant on the account of your possessions and position in life, and forget that you will have to stand before the divine judge soon. BEWARE!!!
King Solomon, whose net worth, when measured by today's standard, would put him above even the Rothschild and Rockefeller clans, which means Solomon would be in the trillionaire range - in other words, Solomon would make Bill Gates look like a Middle-class person, and Mayweather look poor. Solomon was so rich it took over 14 years to build his house, whose ceiling was overlaid with gold. Solomon, having so much gold that he didn't know what to do with it, had thousands upon thousands of spears, shields and chariots fashioned out of gold. Solomon's wealth impressed kings and queens, thereby drawing attention from royalty from every corner of the earth. And to finish it off, Solomon's harem of women would make Mayweather sulk in shame. Solomon had a total of 700 wives and 300 concubines (for a total of 1,000 women). In the end, after nearly losing his sanity and his soul, Solomon wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes that all of the wealth in the world is simply...vanity...next to knowing God. In the end, money really can't satisfy you, and nor will it save you. The stippers get old, fornication gets boring, clubs get boring, trips get boring, sights get old, drinking gets out of hand, cars feel old, house(s) feel empty and/or old, etc. None of these things provide lasting satisfaction. These things can't fill the void in your soul and provide the sense of purpose in life that only God can provide. Money is to be a means to an end (which is to serve God's purpose for your life), not an end in itself. Take the advise of the world's richest man.
Now, I ask you: Who is really wealthier and the victor here? Mayweather or Pacquiao? I don't care who won the match; I care about who's winning the "fight of life". Who has a bank account in heaven today? Who currently has a home "not made by human hands" waiting for him in heaven? Who is currently heaven-bound? Who has the wisdom to invest in eternity over temporary life on earth? Who is free enough to be ruled by God rather than owned and ruled by money and material possessions? Who is on the winning side, the winning team, the team that will "inherit the earth"? Who doesn't need sleazy strippers just to satisfy him temporarily, but can actually enjoy a meaningful relationship with one woman? Who has not lost touch with the things that are more important and valuable than money?
Pacquiao turns out to be the winner.
Oh, and...by the way: God, just as a side blessing, did just put $120 million in the man's bank account just so that he could live comfortably on earth and leave an inheritance for his children and grand-children, as God promised to do in the lives of those who obey Him and live to serve His will in Psalm 112.