'Real Riches and True Treasure!'
Wednesday, October, 11, 2017 | 11:18 AM | by Munholland
What does 'rich' look like to you? We all know people that we think of as 'rich'. They are the people who make MORE than we do, right? None of us thinks that we are rich. After all, we have mortgages, cars, children, and a thousand other things producing bills and financial strain. We think that since we worry about paying bills and wonder how we'll pay for large expenses, that we're not wealthy; we're only average. We say to ourselves, "If I had just a little bit more, then I'd feel less anxious about my situation." However, the reality is that even millionaires worry and wish for more. There's no end to "having enough." The truth is that we are fantastically rich. If you make $48,000/year or more, you are in the world's top 1% of wage earners. If you went to college, you are in the top 0.1 % of the educated in the world. Our standard of living far surpasses the kings and queens of old. What we need is a shift in our perception about wealth.
Jesus said, "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (Matt 6:24) In fact, money is a terrible master. Economist Richard Easterlin of the USC examined data from 1,500 people surveyed repeatedly over a 28-year period. He found that while healthy people are generally happier than unhealthy ones, and married people happier than unmarried people, increases in wealth and material possessions improve happiness only briefly. We try to fill our lives with things that will make us happy. Unfortunately, due to hedonic adaptation, the happiness last only a short while before we need another 'fix'. And then there are the Joneses. They always have more and better stuff. Social comparison eats at our hearts making us sick in our souls. Fortunately, there is better master - God.
Paul tells us in 1 Tim 6:17-19 that we shouldn't put our hope in our 'riches, which is so uncertain', but to put our 'hope in God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.' So what are the real riches and true treasure God offers? The answer is simple: 'Be rich in good deeds, and generous and willing to share.' When we focus on investing our time and money in relationships, we reap an incredible reward. 'In this way they will lay up treasure as a firm foundation for the coming age.' The riches we experience will be love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, grace, and relationships that honor God. Think about it for a minute. Aren't the best things in life not 'things' at all, but the intangibles that come from life-giving relationships with God and other people?
Our challenge is to understand that money is only a tool. It isn't how much money we have that matters. It isn't the things money can buy that satisfies. It is the relationships we invest our time, energy, and money in that reap real riches and true treasure - treasure we can enjoy for eternity.
Blessed to be a blessing,
Dr. Jonathan Beck
1201 Metairie Rd.,
Metairie, LA 70005