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What Happens When A Homeless Person Is Given $100,000?

Wisdom Riches Second Chances

Source: “THAT TIME SOMEONE GAVE A HOMELESS PERSON $100,000 JUST TO SEE WHAT WOULD HAPPEN,” by Karl Smallwood ,October 18, 2016

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Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-05-01

Scripture: Proverbs 3:13

Author: Illustration Exchange


Karl Smallwood with Today I Found It, reports:

In 2005 a homeless man called Ted Rodrigue stumbled upon a briefcase filled with crisp $20 and $50 bills totaling $100,000 (about $123,000 today). Ted was then told by screenwriter Wayne Powers that the money was his to keep and do with as he wished, so long as he would allow a film crew to document the result. Rodrigue, understandably, jumped at the opportunity, leading to a somewhat controversial documentary- Reversal of Fortune.

According to an interview with Powers, the genesis of the documentary stemmed from his time in LA where he was frequently asked for money by the homeless, prompting him to ponder, “What would a homeless person do if I gave them a million dollars?” Powers was curious if such a substantial amount of money could change a person’s life for the better or if it’d simply make it worse. He took this idea to an executive …  executives loved the idea, but weren’t exactly thrilled at the idea of paying out a million dollars, eventually talking Powers down to $100,000.

... With funding in hand, all Powers needed was a homeless person to give the money to. According to him, he picked Ted after filming several conversations with him and coming to the conclusion that Ted was a man who’d been dealt a bad hand and deserved a break for once.

Mostly homeless for about two decades when filming began, the then 45-year-old Rodrigue survived by collecting cans and bottles. On an average day, he noted he could make about $20 or so doing this- enough to buy himself food, alcohol, and cigarettes. On a good day, he could sometimes earn as much as $35.

... the filmmakers didn’t interfere with Ted’s life or his spending in anyway, merely observing and documenting his day-to-day life. They did, however, give Ted access to a financial advisor whose advice he was free to solicit or ignore as he chose.

So what was the result?

Soon after finding the money, news of Ted’s wealth spread to his associates in the homeless community who came to him asking for help. Being a generally nice guy, Ted kindly obliged, paying off many of his “friends” debts and providing for them financially. Around this time, Ted also met a woman who magically became attracted to him the moment she found out he’d acquired $100,000.

... About a year later, Ted appeared on Oprah in an episode entitled “Are You Ready for a Windfall?” 

... It was on this episode that Ted sheepishly revealed that he’d spent or given away all $100,000 within 6-8 months of receiving it, and that he was, once again, homeless.

Powers concluded:

So to answer the question of what happens when you give a more or less drug-free, reasonably psychologically sound homeless person $100,000… pretty much the exact same thing that often happens when you suddenly give a non-homeless person a relative fortune compared to what they’re used to- as with many big ticket lotto winners, they often end up worse off or in the same state as before they got the cash, perhaps with a little depression added in for good measure, something of a Flowers for Algernon effect.


This cautionary tale teaches that if you’re a fool with little, you’ll be an even bigger fool with much.  The lesson being that the greatest disadvantage isn’t being financially poor but being poor in wisdom. Wisdom is life’s greatest treasure.

“Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gets understanding.  For it is better than getting silver and fine gold.  She is worth more than stones of great worth. Nothing you can wish for compares with her.  Long life is in her right hand. Riches and honor are in her left hand.  Her ways are pleasing, and all her paths are peace.  She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her. Happy are all who hold her near” (Proverbs 3:13-18, NLT). 

Gold Cache at the Federal Reserve

Riches Wealth Reward

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Contributed By: Fred Gates | Date Posted: 2015-12-08

Scripture: Matthew 6:19 ; Luke 12:17

Author: Fred Gates


At the Federal Reserve Bank in NYC, five stories below ground, 50 feet below sea level, and locked behind a 90 ton steel door, lies a maze of 122 vaults containing a stockpile of gold from the various nations of the world, deposited there for safekeeping. The weight of the vault and the gold inside is greater than the limits of almost any other foundation. A single compartment can house some 100,000 bricks of gold, each weighing approximately 30 lbs and valued in six figures each. As of October 2001, it held the largest gold repository in the world with approximately 7,700 short tons of gold bullion, more than Fort Knox.

According to the Federal Reserve Website:

The vault is able to support this weight because it rests on the bedrock of Manhattan Island ... Gold bars are transported by elevator from street level to the vault’s basement location. Once inside the vault the bars become the responsibility of a control group consisting of three representatives: two members of the New York Fed gold vault staff and one member from the New York Fed internal audit staff. These three individuals must be present whenever gold is moved or a compartment is opened in the vault—even to change a light bulb ...

Each compartment is secured by a padlock, two combination locks and an auditor’s seal. Compartments are numbered rather than named to maintain the confidentiality of the account holders.


In Matthew 6:19-20 Jesus warned, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."

The world's stockpile of riches seems pretty secure buried five stories beneath the Federal Reserve Bank. After all, what threat do moths and rust pose to gold?  And what are the odds of thieves breaking into the Federal Reserve?  We are far more sophisticated when it comes to securing our wealth than were the ancients.  

But Jesus' main point remains just as relevant today.  For although our treasures may not leave us, one day we will leave them. Remember the lesson to the man who built more barns to store his great wealth, only to die before he could enjoy it.

The only investments that are truly and eternally secure are those that are made by a believer and stored in heaven.  To be a wise investor, we must do as Jesus suggested, and send our riches--our spiritual riches-- ahead of us, where they will wait safely until we arrive.  

"He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’" (Luke 12:17-20).

Family Thankful for Heirloom Plucked From Sewer

Inheritance Riches Maturity

Source: "Lost Family Heirloom Found In Sewer Thanks To These Tireless Sanitation Workers" By Ryan Grenoble, posted The Huffington Post, 11/20/2014

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-11-25

Scripture: Ephesians 1:18

Author: Illustration Exchange


A Union City, California, family is full of gratitude this Thanksgiving season as a family treasure was retrieved from the bowels (pardon the pun!) of the Union Sanitation District's sewer lines.

The HUFFINGTON POST reports, "Workers recovered an heirloom from the sewer more than six weeks after the family's toddler flushed it down the toilet."

The heirloom--a valuable diamond and sapphire ring--was dearly cherished by the Tapal where it had been passed down from generation to generation. It seems, however, that the family's 3 year old son didn't quite appreciate its value as he dropped it into the toilet and proceeded to flush it down.

A search for the ring conducted by a plumber turned up nothing, so they called the USD as a last-ditch effort. That's when workers Johnny Powell and Victor Vasut, fathers themselves, stepped up to help.

Crews flushed sewer lines in the Tapal's neighborhood multiple times in search of the ring, and were about to admit defeat when they finally found it on Nov. 14. Per a USD media release, the family treasure had traveled more than a third of a mile from the Tapal's house, tumbling around corners and nearly falling into a larger sewer line where recovery would have been all but impossible.

"It's rare to find something like this. It's like a needle in a haystack," Collections Supervisor Shawn Nesgis told USD.

After what we assume was a very thorough cleaning, the ring is now back where it belongs.


Who flushes a valuable family heirloom down a toilet? Someone lacking the maturity to understand what they are doing, that's who. Learn to value the preciousness of the inheritance you have received in Christ, passed down many generations for you to enjoy.

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people" (Ephesians 1:18).

Don't Get Punked

Reward Worldly Mindset Riches

Contributed By: Charles Schuyler | Date Posted: 2014-10-10

Scripture: Matthew 6:20

Author: Charles Schuyler

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Cultivate Wisdom Before You Need It

Wisdom Humor Riches

Contributed By: Larry Lewis | Date Posted: 2014-05-03

Scripture: Psalms 111:10

Author: Unknown/Larry Lewis

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If Only I Had A Million Dollars

Stewardship Generosity Riches

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-03-07

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 812:

Author: Kent Crockett

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Huge Payout of Unclaimed Property

Inheritance Salvation Riches

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-02-15

Scripture: Philippians :

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Couple Hits Jackpot Twice In One Day

Blessings/Blessedness Inheritance Riches

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-04-06

Scripture: Lamentations 3:22 ; Psalms 103:12

Author: Melissa Locker (for TIME)

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What Are You Missing?

Bible Seeker Riches

Contributed By: Stephen Kingsley | Date Posted: 2013-01-28

Scripture: Colossians 3:16 ; Psalms 119:111

Author: Stephen Kingsley

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The Link Between Death and Taxes

Devotion Stress Riches

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-04-13

Scripture: Mark 12:17 ; cf. Matthew 22:21

Author: Illustration Exchange

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