What Do Prostitutes, Policemen, Painters, Pastors and P-Taxi Drivers Have In Common? What a weird question.
I was talking to a car salesman not too long ago, and he asked me if I had ever heard of “The Four P’s,” and I said, “No.” He told me that the four P’s stood for prostitutes, policemen, painters and pastors. Then he added, “And really, if the truth be known, there’s actually five P’s … p-taxi drivers.” I told him I was stumped but that I was really curious because I’m one of the Four P’s. I’m a retired pastor now called to another ministry. I’ve become a writer, blogger, ministry consultant, and speaker, but just two years ago I was in my thirty-fourth year of pastoral ministry. I’m now fifty-four.
He said, “Those are the people that car salesmen don’t hate to see come into a dealership … but when they do come in red flags go up because, on average, those five people-groups have the worst credit.”
My friend explained that, generally speaking, each person in those groups tended to live way too close to the precipice of financial ruin. When it came to spending the usual MO was to max out credit cards and home equity loans in order to have what they want, when they want it.
I was intrigued. He went on to say that usually their paychecks (or in the case of prostitutes, their earnings) were spent on luxuries they couldn’t afford – for example, things like plasma TV’s, expensive cars, fancy clothes, and dining at expensive restaurants. When they should have been paying down debt they were in a new car dealership. These folks tended to delay, delay, delay paying creditors until the last minute or beyond, or they’d just pay “the minimum payment.” Before they knew it, they’d be so far over their heads in debt that they’d begin to sink under its weight.
My question was, “So … what are they doing at a dealership?”
With a frown he replied, “I guess they’re coming in to keep up appearances, keep up with the Joneses, or satisfy a lust for ‘more’.”I’m not blogging to be mean, throw stones, or appear to be “holier than thou.” I’m in no position to judge anyone. But I feel I just speak up. I’m hoping that some pastors will get this message.
You see, what this salesman had shared was relevant to me. Until I was forty-one years old, and I had been pastoring for twenty years, I constantly wrestled with credit card debt, and living beyond my means. It wasn’t until what Jesus demanded of anyone following Him sunk in that I began the arduous process of breaking bad spending habits, and working toward being debt-free. My heart had to change.
Jesus said in Mark 8:34-36, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (This is found in the New Testament portion of the Bible.)
Think about it.
If you’re a Christ-follower, and you’re trying to live beyond your means, you might want to change directions … sooner rather than later.