I realize that writing about my great wealth smells of braggadocio, but hear me out: I take no credit because my role has always seemed more passive than active. This wealth, you may have guessed, is of a nature which transcends any monetary standard. Based on the following three criteria, my net worth is at least three times that of all the riches in the world.
My wife is precious.
“Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies." Proverbs 31:10
I met Janice when I was a heathen engineer, living the party life like there was no tomorrow. Although I didn’t immediately recognize that God was living in her, I knew that she possessed a quality in her life that I didn’t have — perhaps it was that virtue and capability that Proverbs 31:10 describes. At any rate, opposites somehow attracted and we married — 41 years ago. Two months later, my Uncle Sam called my name for military service (I was drafted) and four months after that, I was sent to Viet Nam. During that period of time, Janice’s daily letters were my source of hope and our love grew stronger in spite of this forced separation. I came to Christ while overseas and our marriage relationship spiked a few notches upward: Jan and I became comrades in faith. When our family of two grew to three (and eventually four, five and six), Jan chose to be a stay at home mom. I never offered to trade places with her. She was fulfilling her calling — to our family and to our God.
More precious than rubies? I wouldn’t trade these past 41 years with Janice (or the next 41 years) for all the rubies in the world. I am a wealthy man.
Our children are a blessing to their generation
“How joyful are those who fear the LORD and delight in obeying His commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed." Psalm 112: 1,2
Our children, of course, were far from perfect — we know what it is to receive those 3 AM phone calls from the Sheriff’s Department. But eventually all four of them have come to a deep faith in Jesus…not blindly following in the footsteps of their parents, but struggling with the big questions of a life with Christ, and daring to find those answers. Today, all four of our children (a business manager, a school teacher, an insurance agent and a contract artist), are impacting their own generation in countless ways. Perhaps the attributes that I am most proud of is that all four of them genuinely enjoy each other’s company and they all love and respect their parents.
What is the value of having such children? More than all the riches this world could offer. I am a wealthy man.
I have a relationship with God.
The rich and famous of this world hobnob with other rich and famous people of this world. But I have the privilege of speaking with the creator of the universe every single day. I mentioned earlier that I came to Christ, but a more accurate description is that Christ came to me. I was the Romans 5:8 poster child: “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." He was the initiator; I was the recipient. I have no doubt whatsoever that the riches of my marriage and children are a direct result of a life with Christ.
What kind of value can be placed on a relationship with the God of the universe? Perhaps Matthew 16:26 gives us our answer: “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world and lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?"
My soul is more valuable than all of the wealth of the entire world. Would I give up my salvation to own everything? Of course not. I am a wealthy man.
There you have it. My wife, my children and my God … each of greater value than all the riches this world contains. If I sound a bit smug, please forgive me. As I stated in the beginning of this article, I take no credit for these riches. But I am eternally grateful for them.
Readers: How about you? What do you consider your greatest source of wealth?