When you think of a rich life, what comes to your mind?
Do you envision living in the lap of luxury? Do you see a large, spacious, house filled with fine art and furnishings? Is it a brand new executive vehicle made to order? Do you picture dining on succulent culinary treats? Is it the ability to purchase things you want when you want them?
Wealth. Money. That is only one definition of the word rich. What about other definitions?
To be rich is to be magnificent.
To be rich is to be splendid.
To be rich is to be fruitful.
The two different perspectives on rich can place before us diverging paths, leading to choices that we must make in life. Do we strive for financial greatness or do we select the path that seems less flashy and more ordinary?
For a period of time in my life, my vision was of financial grandeur in all its glittery excess. My goal was clear. I worked long and hard, sacrificing much along the way. I struggled to understand why trying harder never seemed to equate to the success at which those around me were having doing what seemed to be the same thing I was doing. Even though I found some success I felt a deep void, a dismal abyss that haunted my every step.
Don’t get me wrong. I do not believe that money itself is bad and having much of it is not wrong. There are people God has so abundantly blessed, who are amazingly generous with what they have been given.
For me, during this period, I was focused on what I was doing and what I could get out of it; a very inward focused life. Then I started to realize that it is not about what you do, if you are in the corner office or if you clean the toilets, it’s more about why you do something and how you do it.
My responses looked something like this. Why did I do what I did? To earn more and accumulate more. How did I do what I did? I did it in a way to please the people I worked for and worked with.
Do you know where these answers lead me? Down the road of exhaustion and discontentment. I trudged down this path, often experiencing emotional and mental breakdowns along the way. Yet the horizon always seemed to offer a glittery future so I plowed on hoping that I would get there. In the end, the glitter seems to come from a mirage that is never actually attainable.
Those were my ways. Then I began training in God’s ways, which are so very different from my own.
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:24
Why? Do it for Jesus.
How? Do it with all your heart and give thanks along the way.
While this may seem simple, based upon the number of words used, I find it nearly impossible at times.
I have a severe struggle with selfishness. I want. I want. I want. Many times I give only partial effort. I can complain like one of the world’s best whiners. So many days I fall into bed at night thinking, “I’ve got to try harder tomorrow.”
I’m really glad God’s mercies greet us anew each morning. It’s a great time to make a fresh start in attempting to walk in God’s ways. I am the trainee, God is the trainer. If there is one who knows true richness, it is God.
God is magnificent.
God is splendid.
God is fruitful.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” Galatians 5:22
To live a life filled with this kind of fruit is to live a rich life.
To Love…those who are unloved
To find Joy…in a world of despair
To experience Peace…in times of turmoil
To be Patient…when the hurricane of tasks pushes you ever faster
To pour out Kindness…when you are drowning in cruelty
To taste Goodness…amongst the barren and the bitter
To remain Faithful…when circumstances tempt you to turn away
To respond Gently…in the face of rising emotions
To exhibit Self Control…when the world chants that you deserve more
That is a rich life, a life that will store up riches for you in Heaven.
Does this rich life seem like it’s a thousand miles from where you are right now in this moment?
That is okay to feel that way. I’m right there with you. We can do it. I know we can. It’s not because I have confidence in me, but I have confidence in God. I have seen His faithfulness in action many times. He is an awesome guide and trainer. He will not let us down.
One step at a time. That is how God will lead us. Let’s take that step will all our heart, giving thanks, for the name of Jesus. When we do, we will walk into the rich and fruitful life that He has in store for us.
Dearest and Beloved Lord,
Thank You for the sweet and fruitful way that You use to describe the meaning of being rich. Lord, that is the kind of life we want to lead. Help us to not get caught up by the entire path or what lies in the far distance. Instead, help us to focus on the one individual step of the journey that is right in front of us.
May we take that step for You. May we put our whole heart into it. May we give thanks while we take it.
In Jesus’ name, amen.