Saturday, December 22, 2007

Making Life Rich


This past week, I did a quick survey on the internet. And I discovered over 101,000,000 websites on “getting rich.” I also saw on TV the other day the happy face of a pregnant, unmarried woman. She became an instant millionaire for winning in a TV game show. Everybody cheers!

Media programs and advertisements promise that having millions, a brand new car, a huge mansion, or travels worldwide will be just the ticket to make life rich. We may not admit it, but each of us is capable of asking “Lord, make me rich!”

When it comes right down to it, that appears to be the greatest need of countless people today. What with almost 50% of the world’s population living on an income of $3 per week – most of them in Asia and Africa! Then, think also of the vast difference between those who have so much when others have so little.

Henry Ward Beecher once wrote, “No man can tell whether he is rich or poor by turning to his wallet. It is the heart that makes a man rich.”

In truth, money does not really make anyone rich (though I wouldn’t mind having lots of it for God’s missionaries!). But being in CHRIST has. I am profoundly enriched to know that I have a God who loves me in a world characterized by selfishness and sin. Spiritual wealth in Jesus is immeasurably more valuable than material wealth.

As the years go by, my personal budget seems to be shrinking each time. Part of it has something to do with wanting more because others have more. So it’s enlightening to thank God all the time. To “count your many blessings” that would help keep us from the trap of covetousness (1 Tim. 6: 6-10).

The other part has to do with what John Bunyan calls basic “concernments.” The author of “Pilgrim’s Progress” was imprisoned for over 12 years for preaching the Gospel, leaving behind a wife and children with great burdens.

Bunyan wrote: “But that which helped me in this temptation was the consideration of this Scripture, ‘Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive, and let thy widows trust in Me’ (Jer. 49:11). I had this consideration, that if I should now venture all for God, I engaged God to take care of my concernments.”

Such takes a fair degree of faith. A concerned friend asked me recently about “clear amounts” of support and plans for my upcoming missionary journey. Of course, there are already some in place, as I continue to put action behind my prayers.

But in the main, whenever God calls, the principle is always to “walk by faith, not by sight.” If I can see everything happening, then I don’t really need any faith.

Over the years, my family and I never lacked what we really need. God has always taken care of us. The “Head of the Church” is head of my family and my children. As we do our part, his plan and promise is to prosper us, to give us hope and a future (Jer. 29:11). And I’m sure He will never change.

Now, I’m reminded again of what makes me or anyone truly rich, with or without money.

“He will dwell on high; his place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; bread will be given him, his water will be sure” (Isaiah 33:16).