–by Nico Bougas
Charles Swindol tells the story of a woman in West Palm Beach, Florida, who died alone at the age of 71. The coroner’s report was tragic. “Cause of death: malnutrition.” The dear old lady wasted away to 23 kilograms. Investigators who found her said the place where she lived was a veritable pigpen, the biggest mess you can imagine. One seasoned inspector declared that he’d never seen a residence in greater disarray. The woman had begged for food at her neighbours’ back doors and gotten what clothes she had from the Salvation Army. From all outward appearances, she was a penniless recluse, a pitiful and forgotten widow. But amid the jumble of her unclean, disheveled belongings, two keys were found, which led the officials to safe deposit boxes at two different local banks. What they found was absolutely unbelievable.
The greatest mystery
The first contained hundreds of valuable certificates, bonds, and solid financial securities . . . not to mention a stack of cash amounting to nearly $200 000 (R2,5 Million). The second box had no certificates, only more currency—lots of it—$600 000 to be exact (R7,5 Million). Adding the net worth of both boxes, they found that the woman had in her possession well over a million dollars! She was a millionaire who died a victim of starvation in a humble home.
Are you happy? Are you miserable?
Admittedly this was an extreme case, but many people imagine themselves to be poor and needy when they should be content with what they have got. Many do not really appreciate how good they have got things. Do you realise that if you are a domestic worker living in South Africa and earning the minimum wage you are amongst the top 25% of the richest people in the globe? Go to a website www.globalrichlist.com and check out where you rate in this world’s idea of riches.
Wealth does not satisfy
The multi millionaire Rockefeller was asked how much it took to be satisfied, he replied, “Just a little more!”. It is a funny trait in mankind that the more we get, the more we want. We hear stories of the rich and famous and we envy them as though they had all that life has to offer, but are they really satisfied with all they have got? Enough is never enough. No matter how much some people have they will always want more. There are millions of examples to which we could point to prove that wealth, prosperity, and material things do not satisfy, they only create a desire in us for more. Just take a look at the stars of television and movie fame. It is amazing how many of them are addicted to alcohol and/or drugs and anti-depressants. They have it all, yet there is emptiness deep down inside of them that they are still trying to fill. There is a hunger they cannot satisfy, and a thirst they cannot quench.
Christ is our rock
Paul’s life was filled with many difficulties, which he could complain about. He faced constant stress, confusion, persecution, and beatings that left deep scars and permanent injuries. But Paul had learned an important secret to life. He said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength” – Philippians 4:11-13. He had learned the secret of not living life based on the conditions around him. He could be content in prison as well as at home. His happiness was not based on situations; it was based on his relationship with Christ. He knew he had all he needed, for it was Christ that gave him the strength for life.