True Wealth

If trucks pulled up carting everything you own off -and every bank in
the country failed and you somehow lost all your savings… what would
you have left?

At least elements of this scenario are happening to people in the
present economy.

One of the many gifts in the dna of the fellowship I call home has
(Jesus People U.S.A. in Chicago) is artistic talent.

To be blunt, there are plenty of groups that would do most anything to
have such talented people, but talent often comes with huge egos and
that prima donna/chip on the shoulder attitude so unbecoming to a
Christ follower.

A few years ago some of our artists asked for photos of all in our
intentional community for an art project they were producing at
Easter. They asked for recent- and if possible- older photos of when
we were younger. That display is up on one wall in our dining room. I
love it as a depiction of Jesus is in the very center with so many
friends and neighbors all around Him and joined with one another.

As I sat chatting with friends in our dining room yesterday I again
recognized how blessed we are in that one of our friends who is a
fairly new Christian has also covered many of our walls with his
brilliant photographs.

Long a tremendous photographer, he is a humble man living a simple
life, working to grow spiritually and blessing us by sharing his
thousands of wonderful photos with us.

Very many of our people and a slew of guests, visitors from all over
the world, church and school youth groups and members’ parents and
siblings come through all taking long looks at this wonderful display.
Like myself, they can be seen standing by these several large photo
exhibits as you might see at an art gallery, just gawking and
observing the amazing pics our bro. has both taken and spread through
our dining room and part of the lobby for our pleasure.

As I again enjoyed them while sitting at a table yesterday a few
thoughts crossed my mind:

First, the economy is hammering millions of people worldwide and we in
the U.S., the state of Illinois, people of Chicago and indeed JPUSA
all feel it. Some feel it more than others, no doubt, yet all but the
most wealthy are having to adjust, cut back, re-think “want” versus
“need”.

Jesus said “A person’s life does not consist in the things they
possess” and how very true that statement is!

At the very least He meant that material stuff isn’t the end-all/be-all.

I’m now thinking of a Veggie Tales episode where one of the characters
asks the other where he’s going. “To Stuffmart… to get more stuff!”

Western and other increasingly well-healed nations are feeling the
economic crunch in big ways, and as always the poorest within those
countries as well as the majority of the world’s poor in
“under-developed” nations feel it most.

And yet as I and many reading this travel the world, over and over we
find some of the poorest people the most ready to share and give
complete strangers who visit them food, shelter and a serving of
kindness far beyond so many of the supposedly “advanced” and well-off.

Further, some of the poorest seem the most spiritually minded and
frankly, pretty happy though they live more of a subsistence
lifestyle. The verse “Though poor, yet making many rich” comes to
mind.

Spiritual poverty is the worst kind because without faith, hope and
love one is truly miserable no matter how much worldly -surface-
power, money or materiel one has amassed.

Again, I think about the story Jesus told of the rich man who didn’t
have a self-storage locker near his farm… so said to himself “I know
what I’ll do… I’ll build bigger barns so my goods will be safe”.
Jesus goes on to say God responded with “You fool, tonight your soul
will be required of you” and the rich man loses everything in the most
complete sense.

As I thought about how rich we are in friendship, in talented artists,
in a photographer’s shared gifts -the obvious struck me: every one of
the photos in this huge, sprawling display has one subject: people.
They are past and present JPUSA members, people who shared time and
fellowship with one another at Cornerstone Festival, just a wide
variety of people, many I know and many others I expect to spend
eternity with around God’s throne worshiping Him.

With all my/our flaws, sins and mistakes, we are so very, very rich in
people. Many if not most are truly seeking Jesus and daily serving. We
are tempted with all the vices and various materialistic and other
burdens of this world and especially that of western nations, but
there is a core ethic that rises and grows in us- people, one-another,
THESE are our greatest gifts, our most wonderful treasure!

Spouse, children, grandchildren, friends in Christ, co-laborers in HIS
kingdom (not our own petty kingdoms) who love Him and seek to learn
how to better love one another, THESE constitute the true wealth in
our lives.

I’ve often stated the fact that relationships in Christ are the only
thing we will take beyond the grave. Nothing but eternal relationships
will continue on after we leave this world and only those who had
eternal life in Christ will continue in relationship past this life.

So what DOES true life consist of? Relationship to Jesus and one another.

HE and they are our greatest treasures.

As I think about all the downsizing, all the scrimping, the anger at
politicians and corporations, the burdens of changing costs of living
in the western world in particular, these amazing, brilliant
photographs remind me of what is most important.

Money, material things, political power or lack of all three don’t
equal true life. Real and satisfying life can only be found in Christ
and in true fellowship with the people of God.

Drawing closer to Him and them is what makes life worth living.

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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2 thoughts on “True Wealth

  1. Glenn-Good post- very timely, and no doubt expresses where we should be as the body of Christ. I’ve been teaching a short series on "God’s Purposes in a Recession", and reminded of the "flip" on conventional wisdom that’s found in 2 Cor. 8:1-2: ???And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.???Most people assume that they would be more generous if they only had a little extra, but here we see that true generosity comes from somewhere else- gratitude, humility, and being ‘others-centered’- the work of the Spirit.Thankful to God for His patience and continuing kindness-Tim

  2. <div style="text-align: left;">Thanks Tim… Amen to what you teach and are saying here. Thanks Bro.! Faithfulness in relationships is so key, not mere survival methodology. -Glenn<br></div>

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