What Do You Hold Dear?

19 Sep

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”  ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

In my many years as a priest, I have come to know many wealthy people.  There are some who, I would say, were not only wealthy but super wealthy.  Knowing them has been both a joy and a struggle and has been, to say the least, “eye opening.”  I had always heard a certain phrase when I was growing up but never saw it lived out until I met some of them:  money cannot buy happiness.

I have known incredibly wealthy people who are frustrating and frustrated.  They had not used their wealth for the benefit of others.  Instead, they had used their wealth to control family members and friends, to engineer business contracts, and other kinds of goals.  Each time they got what they wanted, you could see that they were unfulfilled.  At best, they checked off the box of “got it done” and looked to the next thing that they “needed”.  All their needs accomplished, they were far from happy.

Then there were the others and, thankfully, they were in far greater number than the first group.  These people also had lots of money and the power and prestige that accompanies it. Yet, they were very humble people.  If you went out with them, if you ever saw them at an event, they would blend in with everyone else because they did not live in pretense.  They used their assets to help other people.  The more they helped, the happier they were.  Even if they helped anonymously, they found themselves greatly fulfilled because it was not the recognition that they desired, but simply doing good.

By this point in today’s reflection you might be saying, “What does this have to do with me?  I don’t even have any money of which to speak.  I’m not wealthy.”  Oh yeah?  Think again.  There are many people who are incredibly wealthy.  It may not be financially; but, God has given us all a wealth of gifts.  There are people I know who can make anybody laugh.  That’s a great gift.  There are people who can put anybody at ease with just a few words.  Again, a great gift.  There are still others who can explain things in a manner in which everyone will understand, who can motivate others to service, who can inspire people to action.  Those are all great gifts.

If we do not use the wealth of our gifts, we will stagnate.  If we used the wealth of our gifts for our own gain, we are useless servants and hypocrites.  But, if we use the wealth of our gifts for others, we will truly be doing the work of God.

We should value our talents more than hoarded gold and we should value, most of all, the people in our lives who have touched us throughout the years by utilizing the wealth of their gifts.

FAITH ACTION:  Spend some time today with the people you value.