Poems, Personal Stories, and Observations

Posts tagged ‘wealth’

The Snare of Riches

‘And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”‘ (Luke 19:23)

We are sorely mistaken if we think that riches will bring us happiness. Material goods, to a point, are certainly a blessing. It is good to have nutritious food, clothes to keep you comfortable in any weather, and shelter from that same weather. Beyond that, I’m proposing here that unearned and/or unshared wealth can be a real hindrance to happiness, if it takes the place of our relationship to God.

Certainly a high position in society does not guarantee healthy or moral behavior, not to mention that all your foibles and flaws will be mercilessly criticized by the public. There are some crazy stories, going back some generations, from my own family background, that cause one to ponder.

Here are a few, half heard, half remembered (and thus probably half accurate), from my background: One relative with a high position in the (non-U.S.) government, contracted syphilis and went mad. He was in the military and presumably, while married, contracted the illness from someone other than his wife. Another VERY wealthy relative gambled away 26 houses. Still another, to impress a woman he was wooing, bought out an entire theater performance so that the two could be the only people in the theater. They did get married, but later divorced, partly due to his infidelity. The same man ran for government and promised the voters that he would provide a copious feast if he won. He won.

We have all seen unhappy rich people in the news, with broken marriages and families, and disordered lives.

If you happen to be blessed with wealth, however you obtained it, remember that all your riches, and anything you possess, ultimately comes from God. (Of course, dishonest wealth is not in God’s plan.)

There were several rich men in the Bible who were righteous. Being rich doesn’t have to be evil in itself. For example, Abraham was quite wealthy and a person of great faith. Again, recall the story of Job, who lost all his riches and most of his relatives, but did not curse God. Ultimately, God restored everything to him, and more. There were rich Christians in the New Testament who shared their wealth. The point being, that their wealth was not where they derived their value, but they derived it from Christ.

The Wildflowers Still Bloom

[Written in response to /protest against the Charlottesville, Virginia, madness.]

The wildflowers still bloom
No matter what your religion is,
What color your skin is,
How much money you have,
Or what neighborhood you live in.

The trees don’t ask,
“Shall I give my shade
Only to certain people —
Those of a certain color,
Those who are rich?”

The mountains still stand
When the poor walk on them,
When the oppressed tread their paths.

The ocean waves
Go in and out
Whether the children splashing in them
Are educated or not.

The birds don’t sing
Only for the perfect —
Perfectly healthy,
Perfectly formed
In mind and body.

The sun shines
And the rain falls
On the just and the unjust.

Shall I withhold my love
From another
For any reason?

God does not.
He sends the rain and the sun
On all peoples.
He gives the beauty of His creation
To each person, each day.

Let me learn from Him.

I Live in a Dream

I LIVE IN A DREAM

I live in a dream …

I live in a little English village
Where everyone knows each other.

I go to the butcher shop
And meet Rev. Franklin Graham and Pope Francis.
At the tea shop,
I enjoy tea and tisane with Agatha Christie,
Hercule Poirot, and Miss Marple.
I also see J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis,
G. K. Chesterton, and Dorothy Sayers there.

I say hello to John Henry Newman,
Martin Luther, and St. Francis on the street.
———————

I take a trip to the United States…

I meet Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump –
Through a series of misfortunes,
They have lost most of their money
And have become very humble people;
They regularly meet for coffee at their local coffee house.

I go to a poor section of town.
The unemployed people are busy
Keeping their neighborhood clean,
Working in the community garden,
And going to school part of the day to better their lives.

I go to a rich neighborhood …
No one is home because they are in the poor neighborhood
Distributing clothing, helping in the community garden,
And teaching English to immigrants.

———————

This is my dream …

I no longer worry what you think of me;
I focus on Jesus and try to do His will.

I no longer try to prove I’m right and you’re wrong;
I respect your opinion and will state mine if you’re willing to listen.

I have peace in my heart
Because I have let go,
And given everything to God.

[Reconciling different elements in my life: Christians
with differing viewpoints, political factions, the rich
and the poor, and my own inner conflicts.]

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