Tuesday, May 6

True wealth

"Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions." (Luke 12:15 NASB)

When one thinks of greed, we automatically tag a monetary aspect to it. We look at the rich, hiding greedily behind their fortresses of gated communities and fancy, expensive cars. We aspire to be as rich as they are; longing for the days when we call the shots on how our daily routine unfolds.

Greed is defined as the excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves, according to TheFreeDictionary.com website. This means an abnormal desire to acquire or possess and Jesus doesn't tell us that it is mainly material wealth that we should guard against, but all forms of greed.

Comfort and happiness are part of the American Dream. So are stature and fortune. We live in a society that values what a person has than how a person is. We look at those in our communities; church, neighborhood, and state and calculate what material wealth they have before we can determine their worth in our lives, or even if we want them there. We look at a person's clothes, the car they drive, and determine how their lives are going. Are they living well or are they just a waste of air?

Comfort, happiness, and eternal perspective do not depend on where we live, what we drive, how we work, or any abundance of materials that we acquire. Paul learned this and it served him well in the cold, dank walls of prison. He was happy because the Gospel continued to be spread, even within the prison walls.

I told a friend the other day, I am a wealthy man. I rent an apartment I barely afford, have hand-me-downs and cast-offs and drive a beat-up, banged-up, and breaking-down Taurus. My shoes are worn, my clothing second-hand. I coax and cajole an IBM ancient laptop given to me by a fellow Christian who wanted me to continue to write. How can I be so wealthy in my own mind, then?

I know that love is not dead, despite the bitter struggle over the last year and a half. It blossoms each morning as I greet the day that God has made for us all, in the sleepy kisses from my children as we get ready for our various responsibilities during the day. It grows within my heart as I experience the joy of the Lord when I follow the path (and even in the sorrow when I don't). I saw it last Thursday, at the School Board meeting, when the Special Olympics Kids I coached in two events stood proudly displaying their medals received in recognition of their accomplishments.

And, in the immortal words of the Beatles, "Love is all you need."

I have the respect and approval of my children, even when things aren't going their way. They love and have pride for their Dad, who knows and returns those things seven fold. I have the honor of being a Dad to two great kids, and being a man to a lot of other kids that bump in and out of our lives.

The Bible tells us that the pride of children is their parents. Or the sorrow, depending.

I have the affection, edification, and accounting of good Christian friends whom I have journeyed through the last two years. I could not face the trials and tribulations without such strong support and accounting.

And above all, I have eternity. Given to me by the Father of us all, lovingly and painful through the sacrifice of His only Begotten Son. The assured destination of the future, given to me so that I could not lose it, allows me to realize that "it's all good" even when the storms are raging wild.

Yes, I am a rich man. I have comfort, love, happiness, and a future.

Who could ask for more?

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