"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (NIV) Matthew 6:33
Last week certainly focused much on the incredible large Powerball jackpot. As each day went on, the jackpot became larger and larger. Much discussion at the lunch table and dinner table included, "If I won, I would . . . .," or "The first thing I would do if I won . . . ,". It was fun to dream a little and think about all the things you could do with that incredible amount of money. Would you quit your job? Would you give to others? Would you share with charities? Would you even let anyone know it was you? Many questions come with that.
As those discussions occurred, many shared that it would be nice to be rich. It helped me to think about my own life and do I consider myself 'rich'? It's funny, nobody you speak with (at least amongst my friends), really believes they are rich - regardless of how much money they may have in the bank!
So what constitutes richness? I think we all have our own definition of that. What I think is unique when we have these large lottery jackpots is that we tend to look at money as the gauge of being rich. Yet, self included, we can be blind to what rich really is. Let's reflect a bit on what rich means.
Rich can come in the wealth of relationships. Family, friends, and community can provide us great relationships that help us in our daily lives. Maybe a chat of comfort and support from a friend can be a sense of great richness. Having a meal with your family can share richness. The sense of companionship can fill us with a great sense of richness.
Rich can come in the wealth of love. Love from parents, children, spouses, significant others, and friends can fill our hearts with richness. When our hearts are filled with love, it's hard to think that anything can make us feel any richer.
Rich can come in the wealth of health. Surviving a difficult health diagnosis, celebrating in good health, and even managing in the middle of health problems can have richness. When we may be struggling with our health, it is a time for us to see the gifts God has given brilliant doctors and compassionate nurses. We can see that we are surrounded by those who help us when we are sick. Whatever our health status may be, we can see richness through it.
Rich can come in the wealth of giving. Come on, I'm sure we all said that when we "won the lottery" we would give to others. I know I did. Yet, what happens when you give without all the money? What happens when you give with what you have - no matter how small? I don't know about you but I feel richer than any millionaire. The blessing that comes from giving does not only make those we give to rich, but increases our richness as well.
Rich can come in the wealth of prayer. When we pray for others in need, not only are we doing exactly what God wants us to do, but we are giving the greatest wealth we can to another. God wants us to reach out to Him to aid ourselves and others. I am certain that we have all seen the power of answered (or even unanswered) prayers. There is such richness in prayer.
Rich comes in the wealth of Jesus. As shared in our verse for today, as we seek the kingdom of God and the righteousness that He asks of us, He will always give. He gave us the greatest gift, His Son - who give us the greatest gift - His life, for our sins. Nobody on earth, or in heaven other than Jesus, has provided such wealth for us. There is nothing this side of heaven that can give anyone such richness.
As we might fall into complacency and be blind that we are not rich, may we reflect much on that which we have the greatest wealth in: relationships, love, health, giving, prayer and Jesus. With all that in our lives, we can't help but be so very rich! Continue in simple faith of Him who gave us everything so that we might live a life on Earth of richness, and an eternal life with Him of greater wealth.
"Dearest Lord, there are many times that we look at our lives and feel as if we are not rich, that we 'need' so much that we don't have. May we take a few moments to realize that we could be blind to the great richness that we do have in so many facets of our life. Help us, Jesus, to be reminded of these things as we pass through this earthly life. May we thank you for all that we have, as it all comes from you. In your name we pray, Amen!"