Measuring Real Wealth

“Don’t measure your wealth by how many things you have. Measure your wealth by how many things you have that you wouldn’t take money for.” Myrlie Evers

 Spring 4

By Dawn Onley

How wealthy are you?

I’m not talking about how much money you make or the value of your stock portfolio or the stuff that you own or any other measure of material wealth. I’m referring to true wealth – the type that doesn’t come with a price tag. I’m talking about the wealth that we often take for granted, in pursuit of material gain, but later learn it is the only wealth that matters.

For you can live in a mansion, drive a Porsche and vacation in Bali, but if you are not wealthy in spirit, you probably won’t appreciate it. Sure, it’ll afford you modern conveniences, some people’s respect, better healthcare, and tons of options, but what good is all of that if you haven’t found the true source of joy? If you’re wealthy but unhappy?

Money is great and it makes aspects of life easier. I’m not one of those people against material wealth. This is also not meant to deter you from trying to better your financial lot in life. However, you can be bank rich and spirit poor. You can also be poor by bank standards and abundantly wealthy – in talents and gifts, in knowledge and wisdom, in joy and well-being. In gratefulness.

If you have people who love you and whom you love, it doesn’t matter what your bank account statements say, you are outrageously rich. If you have been blessed with sight, hearing, mobility, a roof over your head, clothes to wear and food to eat, you are wealthier than you realize. In fact, there are people all over the world who would give anything to have your blessings.

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I read a story recently about a homeless father and his elementary school aged son who were eating breakfast at a Waffle House when a security officer noticed the man had a heavy sadness about him and went over to talk to him. It was then that he learned of the man’s recent homelessness and how sad he felt for having to bring his son out in the streets with him. The father’s love for his son moved me. Although they are down on their luck at the moment, what struck me was how blessed and wealthy in spirit the father and son are to have each other. And the security guard provided an added blessing – he is allowing them to stay in his house while the father gets back on his feet. Look at God!

When you are blessed, you can be a blessing. Correction: when you realize how abundantly you are blessed, you can be a blessing! If you are moping around here professing to be blessed but acting like you aren’t, fix your attitude.

Many of us spend precious time lamenting what we don’t have and what we haven’t accomplished, always comparing ourselves to others. We brood on our financial difficulties or focus on what we lack. We fail to appreciate what is smack dead in front of us: friends and family, mental acuity, physical strength, our unique talents and gifts – until sadly, our blessings are taken from us through an illness or the loss of a loved one.

When we embrace a spirit of poverty – and we embrace this spirit by negative feelings of self-worth and by perpetuating scarcity and lack in our talk and actions – we are not much different than the wealthy person who may embrace a spirit of greed. Both spirits damage who we are and who we were born to be and leave us in a place of ungratefulness.

When we realize just how blessed we are, our eyes become opened and we start to see that we are overflowing with wealth. And when we realize we are wealthy, we start acting like it.

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