Feel Rich?

Money makes the world go around. Apparently. The price of gas is high…a stinkin’ Vitamin Water at 7-11 is $2.89….and my pizza totaled a whopping $28.00 after tip. That’s nuts. I ate ALL of the crust. All of it. And I’m not a crust guy. I would’ve felt guilty if I hadn’t.

I was talking to my students about an acting job I had, and throughout this riviting dialogue, the questions aways came back to, “yeah, but how much did you make?” Again and again. Finally, I stopped and said…”is that all you think about” (thinking I’d crack the ‘ol Middle School mind.) “Yeah,” they replied. And they were dead serious. (Foiled again.)

I used it as an opportunity to talk about money as a tool for living, and how money can ultimately bring you down if you allow it to run your life. I make a very generous salary for a teacher. (Which is stupid to say to begin with…where’s the basis for comparison?) I live in a nice house that I own…I drive a truck. I eat well. I’m very fortunate. There are MANY….thousands….millions, who don’t have that. I have the luxury of getting up in the morning, putting on a different outfit, choosing from a selection of shoes to wear, eat breakfast after picking from a variety of cereals. I drive to a job that I love. I work with smart people that strengthen my faith. I shouldn’t complain about a thing. Until I’ve seen the flip side…I shouldn’t say a WORD about wanting, or needing more means.

My students grow up in a world that are being run by people my age. A multi-tasking, a move-move-move mindset…and a constant desire to feed the need. Am I like that? Do I feed this rationale? I recall bugging my wife for a Tropical Smoothie the other day. I wish I had newer clothes. I wish that the front tire on my truck wasn’t missing a hubcap. Perhaps on some smaller scale I’m EXACTLY like that. How embarrasing.

My wife, last Christmas, asked her students to journal about what was the one thing that they could not live without. The vast majority of them said, “cell phone,” or “the Internet” or “my car.” I was shocked.

We all want what’s best. Whether or not it is because we like “toys” and ultimately entertainment, or find temporary relief from something bigger we crave (like attention, love or comfort)….or maybe it’s because we’re simply paranoid of the alternative. After all, if you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, the plasticware looks downright foreign. What’s “best” costs money, I suppose.

I hope that we as human beings, continue to share the great fortunes we have on earth. These things aren’t found in your wallet. I hope that a love for the Lord, and a fundamental desire to spread joy and happiness is still tucked away in the backs of our minds somewhere. I hope. My beloved students who whip out their iPhones the second 4th block ends…and ride home in their Hummers are missing out. The reward of doing a job right…or the reward of making someone else’s day… or whatever!…that is far better than a $100 bill. (You can argue that. I dare you.)

I’m not saying you can’t find happiness in wealth. But…my arguement is…should we? I love an old Proverb that I heard once…

“If you want to feel rich, count the things you have that money can’t buy.”

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