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Living rich

The date is July 4, 1939.  The place is Yankee Stadium in New York City. Over 61,000 people have gathered this day. A hush falls over the crowd as Henry Louis (Lou) Gehrig steps up to the microphone at home plate to speak. Gehrig is known to baseball fans as "The Iron Horse."  He earned this moniker by playing in every game for almost fourteen years. That is 2,130 consecutive games.

 

This however, is a sad occasion because something terrible has happened. In the cruelest of ironies, baseball's Iron Horse is being forced to prematurely retire from the game he loves because of a fatal illness. The uniform once filled out by muscular calves and biceps now sags and flaps in the breeze. The strength and resilience that fostered his incredible stamina are withering away due to the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), hereafter known as Lou Gehrig Disease.

 

His wife and parents are sitting in box seats on the third base line.  His old teammate, the inimitable Babe Ruth is there. Joe McCarthy, the Yankee manager, walks over to Gehrig and says something to him.  Then Gehrig starts to speak. Just what does this man say on such a poignant occasion? Does he express bitterness that he is going to die in the prime of his life? Does he try to deny the reality of his illness?  Here's what he said:

 

                        "Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading

                        about a bad break I got.  Yet today I consider myself

                        the luckiest man on the face of this earth."

 

Isn't that incredible? He could have (understandably) said just about anything but look at what he chose to say. He chose to speak of his blessings.

 

I think there's a real lesson here for the redeemed. If we belong to Jesus, no matter what our circumstances are (and I don't wish to be glib), we're the richest people on the planet! Yes, I know about the reality of pain and suffering. And it's true there's evil all around us.  We learn more every day about injustices practiced throughout the world.   Just the same, we've been redeemed!  The one who sought our eternal destruction was defeated on a Sunday morning 2,000 years ago.   Jesus took on the poverty of our sins to give us His prosperity (2 Corinthians 8:9). We're now rich people! We have a future. The Bible speaks of all of this as good news and it is!

 

I am not suggesting that we ignore the unpleasant, the wrong, or the painful, but neither do we have to be ruled by them! They don't have the last word – Jesus does! This is more than just a matter of attitude or emphasis; it is the reality we need to root our lives in. We can choose to believe we're poor if we want to, but if we belong to Him, then all things belong to us (1 Corinthians 3:21-23).

 

Russell Conwell tells the story of Ali Hafed in his book, Acres of Diamonds. Hafed was a content, wealthy man until he developed an insatiable appetite for diamonds. His obsession led him to sell his farm and all that he owned and spend it traveling the world in search of diamonds. He died a penniless, broken man in a foreign land. What happened to the man who purchased Hafed's farm? He found that the land was full of . . . diamonds, acres of diamonds. Hafed was in possession of great riches all along; he just failed to realize it.

 

How tragic it is when Christians look everywhere but Jesus Christ for their acres of diamonds. Perhaps they look to a higher income bracket, an affair, a new automobile, a better job, or even retirement. Like Ali Hafed, many will perish in their pursuits without ever realizing that the treasure they sought was there all along in Jesus Christ.

 

Do you know the joy and peace that come from knowing Him? Do you know where you're going when this life is over? Then you my friend are rich. Tonight before you close your eyes to sleep, thank God for your treasure. Tomorrow, if He sees fit to give you another day on this earth, thank Him for that day and live like the rich person you are.  
 
 
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Subpages (1): Living rich toward God
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