Faith outweighs material goods

By Judy Brandon: CNJ columnist

A millionaire California investor with a wife and five children owned a massive sky rise apartment building. Not only was the businessman financially successful, he was a deeply spiritual man. He had a firm conviction that what wealth he acquired came from God and must be returned to God. The man made millions from his investments. Here is what made the businessman unique: He lived on a middle class income from the profits he earned, and he invested the rest of the money for God. He helped build Christian hospitals and clinics in third-world countries. Because of his generous financial gifts, many poverty stricken villagers received their first medical care.

In fact, the businessmen and his wife along with their five children took mission trips to the third world countries to participate in the good work that their money had funded. As lives were changed, sick people seen in hospitals which they had built, children and babies fed with funds they had provided. The family was grateful that God allowed them to be a part of the wonderful work that was going on in people’s lives.

We have all heard how the recession has devastated California. The businessman was hit very hard. Because of his inability to keep the upscale apartment building rented, the bank finally foreclosed on his apartment building and the businessman lost everything. Soon after the huge financial devastation for this man, his longtime friend was in visiting California on business of another kind, and the friend wanted to check in with the businessman to see how he was doing after the foreclosure. The visitor expected to see the businessman in a state of despair and wondering, ‘Why Me? What did I do to deserve this?’ That was not the case at all! When the two men met, the businessman came running to see the visitor, and embraced him with a bear hug. The businessman wore a beaming smile on his face. His countenance was full of joy.

After a few minutes, the two men sat down in a coffee shop to catch up on old times. The visitor told his friend, “I have heard about your business investment and I am so sorry! Do you regret giving away such large amounts of money?”

The businessman smiled and said, “Are you kidding? My investments for Christ are the only ones still paying dividends! I wouldn’t do a thing differently! “

Isn’t that a remarkably different attitude than that of the world? His children had seen the results of living a life of generosity in thankfulness toward God. They had seen him lose material things but had seen him model a life that was dependent on God for the things that really mattered — a future and a hope stored up in heaven!

But what is really important? It seems to me that passing on to our children a spiritual foundation that will guide them throughout all their lives, good times and bad, is the greatest thing we can leave our children.

If you are worried about money, take solace in these words: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his great mercy, he has given us the new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, perish or fade kept in heaven for you. (1 Peter 1:3-5)

We may leave our children much materially…yet the greatest thing we can give them is the knowledge that Jesus loves them, they can have a personal relationship with Him alone, and Jesus alone is the best investment for life.