The distinguished old gentleman extended his chest proudly, caressed his expensive vest and said, “Well, son, it was 1932 — the depth of the Great Depression. I was down to my last nickel. I invested the nickel in an apple. I spent the entire day polishing that apple and, at the end of the day, I sold that apple for 10 cents.
"The next morning, I invested those 10 cents in two apples. I spent the entire day polishing them apples and sold them at 5 p.m. for 20 cents. I continued this system for a month, by the end of which I’d accumulated a fortune of $1.37. Then my wife’s father died and left us $2 million!”
Who wouldn’t enjoy a shortcut to a life free from financial worries? It probably won’t happen for the vast majority. Still, millions hope against all odds that they will be that one fortunate individual to have their prayers answered to win a multimillion dollar lottery or a national sweepstakes. To make matters worse, many people allow this desire for riches to influence their better judgment.
According to the New Hampshire Department of Justice, “Each year, thousands of consumers fall victim to one of the many varieties of fraudulent schemes or con games, losing anywhere from a few dollars to thousands of dollars.
"Con artists are skilled at preying on both our fears and our best instincts: We want to help someone in a jam, we don’t want to get someone into trouble, we want to be able to provide for our families. Swindlers may offer a “great deal” that “won’t be available tomorrow,” or the investment opportunity that is ‘too good to pass up,’ or the chance to split a large sum of money they just found.”
Why, in this month alone, I have received numerous emails from strangers informing me of millions of dollars they want to give me! All I have to do is give them some information and they will start the process of wiring money into my bank. Or should I say, wiring MY money into their bank account!
These con artists prey on gullible individuals who believe they can get rich quick or get something for nothing. Sadly, many seniors have lost everything by showing the slightest interest in this ruse. Experts say the best way to avoid being scammed is to treat any offer of a “great deal” with a great deal of skepticism.
The most interesting thing I’ve ever read about riches and wealth is what Jesus Christ said at Luke 16:11, “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” — New International Version.
What are these “true riches” that the Lord Jesus spoke of? Notice what the Bible says at 2Corinthians 8:9: “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” — New Living Translation.
By accepting the sacrificial blood of Jesus, who came to earth free from material possessions, and died for our sins, we can become spiritually rich in the sight of God. In doing God’s will and working what is good toward all, we can store up “treasures in heaven” as Jesus said at Matthew 6:20. This can affect how we view material things.
Perhaps you heard the story written by an unknown author that teaches a valuable lesson. It goes like this: A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups — porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite — telling them to help themselves to the coffee.
When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: “If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups have been taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.
“Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups. And then you began eyeing each other’s cups.
“Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life. The type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live.
Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee. Savor the coffee, not the cups! The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.”
Anyone who lives in the spirit of those words and who does the will of God can expect rich blessings, even as Proverbs 10:22 says, “The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.” — New King James Version.