Tuesday, October 07, 2008

How Rich Are You?

Last year Gail and I had the opportunity to meet Joe and Areva Chesser. They came to Cambodia to teach in the WEI school and visited the boat one weekend. Joe writes a column regularly and sends us a copy of his thoughts. I was deeply moved by his recent article and wanted to share them on our blog. They are very appropriate with the current financial turmoil going on around us. The following is what he wrote:

"I’ve never had a lot of money. I guess the Lord knew I couldn’t handle that very well. But neither have I been broke. I guess the Lord knew I couldn’t handle that very well either. Yet, even without having a lot of money I feel like I am one of the richest men alive.

I am rich with love. I have a God who loves me so much that he allowed his very own Son to sacrifice his life so that I could live with him forever.

Money cannot buy that.

I have a wife that loves me so much that she has put up with my imperfections and flaws for over 40 years. In fact, she continues to love me more and more as the years mount up.

Money cannot buy that.

I am blessed with three children, two daughters-in-law and one son-in-law who constantly show their love to me. I have nine grandchildren who run up to me and give me a hug when they see me because they truly do love me.

Money certainly cannot buy that.

I am part of a church that has loved, accepted and supported me as their preacher for over five years, and continues to do so.

Money cannot buy that either.

I have a large extended family that chooses to spend time with me, and I have a huge network of friends all over the world who love me. There are times when I don’t have enough money to do the things that I would like to do, times when my money has run out. But I have never run out of love. It only grows day after day, and that makes me one of the richest men alive.

I am rich with experiences. It has occurred to me several times lately that even without a lot of money of my own, God has richly blessed me with many varied experiences. In addition to the experiences of love, I have been enriched through many other experiences. I possess the joys of marriage, of being a parent and grandparent, of helping a lost soul find the Lord, and of helping hurting people through times of crises. I know the peace that comes from being forgiven, from answered prayer, from reading the scriptures and from the presence of God.

Money cannot buy these things.

I have seen the power of God at work in the lives of sinners, in the church and in myself. I have experienced the closeness of family, church and friends that most people only dream about. I am amazed at the places I have been and the things I have seen. (Seeing bison in Oklahoma this week reminded me of also seeing them in Wyoming and Alaska, plus seeing buffalo in Kenya, Cambodia and Vietnam). While serving the Lord I have seen his handiwork as I observed the moon and stars from five continents.

I am one of the richest men alive. I am rich with hope. As my life continues I know I will only grow richer. While others are worrying over the economy and trying to gain the things of the world, I have placed my hope in the hands of God. I have learned that trying to gain the world while losing my soul is the greatest waste of all.

My hope is not in retirement, but in the coming Lord. My treasures are not in financial institutions, but in heaven. My trust for the future is not in the government, but in God. You don’t need money to possess this kind of hope. I am one of the richest men alive because my confidence and hope for the future is in God.