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At the end of a year we often look backward and wonder how things might have been different. Did you ever wonder what would have happened if you had been born rich? Or became rich? I used to enter an annual contest with a multi-million dollar prize and daydream about what I’d do if I won. Then I met the wife of a pastor of a mega-church. She mentioned entering the same contest—and how much good their church could do with that money if she won. That put things in perspective, but neither of us were tested with what we might do with sudden, extreme wealth.
Have you ever said to yourself, If money wasn’t an issue, I could have bought this . . . or done this . . . or gone there? Probably most of us have. For instance:
If money wasn’t an issue, I wouldn’t have most of the clothes in my closet which were bought because they were on clearance or didn’t need dry-cleaning. And none of them would be paint-spattered. But then I would never have known the joy of transforming a house with paint and hard work. I would have hired professional painters in crisp white overalls to do it all for me.
If money wasn’t an issue, my furniture might have been selected by a decorator from an expensive showroom rather than chosen by me for its stain- and wear-resistance from the floor of a discount warehouse. And I wouldn’t have a few pieces that—although they didn’t start out antiques—may well make it yet. Over the years they’ve survived spills and bumps from toys and the feet and paws of seven grandchildren plus various dogs and visiting grand-dogs. Furniture scars tell stories.
If money wasn’t an issue, when my children were growing up and asked for things as we shopped (as all children do), I might have always said Yes—even when I knew I should say No because it was age inappropriate or just the fad of the moment. I’m glad that I could sometimes honestly say, “We can’t afford it.” (To which my young daughter used to reply, “Just write a check!”)
If money wasn’t an issue, I would have probably travelled around the world many times until I became bored with it. But now a trip anywhere is exciting because it doesn’t happen that often.
I’ve learned that God can use a lack of money to keep us grounded, so I’ve come to be grateful that money has always been an issue. Otherwise, I might have become a person who never achieved anything on her own, a compulsive or extravagant shopper, an indolent mother with spoiled children, or a jaded jet-setter. Like the writer of Proverbs 30:8-9 (HCSB) I’ve learned to pray, not for wealth and ease, but for a life ordered and structured by God:
Give me neither poverty nor wealth; feed me with the food I need. Otherwise, I might have too much and deny You, saying, “Who is the Lord?” or I might have nothing and steal, profaning the name of my God.
No matter what the balance in your checkbook, that perspective makes for a rich life.
[More of what Vicki Huffman learned in her non-wealthy past is included in her most recent book, Still Looking: Finding the Peace of God in Job Loss available on amazon.com.]