Mark 10:25 “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
This was just another day and another opportunity to make the right choice. I started my day with Heavenly Dad. Sometimes He speaks to me about what I’m going through now. Sometimes He reminds me of how far I’ve come. Today He reminded me of someone in my past.
This gentleman was a close client of Archie’s, a fellow designer, by the name of Trent. He had a wonderful business with his dad designing furniture. He was so gifted their designs were purchased by lead boat companies including the number one pontoon manufacturer in the world (so I’ve been told).
He had the life that most only dream of: a beautiful wife, son, and daughter both active in sports, and the perfect loving family. He was physically fit along with, my understanding, his dad, as they were very close. He set his own hours and worked around his family’s schedule.
His talent and gift were noted by “number one” and they asked him to come aboard as their lead designer. He excelled. Though he lived in Michigan he traveled to our area for his new designer’s career. He exceeded all expectations and was promoted to vice president. Along with that came money, power, and so much more.
Unfortunately, in his life, room had to be made for the “more”. There was no time for the loving wife and children but the new thirtysomething looked good on his arm. There was no time for the business with his dad, but the office with the workout room and glass walls showed success.
Soon other things were added but were lacking in value, like the DUI. This is no secret as it was published in the paper for all to see. This once happy and driven man forgot what true wealth was.
I remember the story Archie told me of his trip to “Number One.” Something had gone wrong in production and Archie was filling in as Veada had let their plant manager of 30 plus yrs go. This gentleman tore into Archie with vengeance with the sole purpose to shame and humiliate in front of all designers on staff. Archie sat quietly, apologized for the shortcomings, and put a plan into action as that is what the Project Manager of R&D and acting Plant Manager does.
After the meeting, Trent pulled him aside and apologized, saying he needed to do that to gain respect. Humiliated in public, apology in private. Archie took it well.
Shortly thereafter Trent called Archie and asked if they could meet. He poured out his heart about what a mess his life was. All Archie could do was speak about and share his love of the Lord. Trent thanked him for meeting him and then left with his shoulders just a little higher.
Trent continued on the slippery path of wealth, power, and pressure, eventually walking out on his job then disappeared. He wasn’t heard from in weeks. As far as I know, that time remains a mystery.
Later on that year, technically the beginning of 2016, Archie went home.
They say the traffic was backed up into the road, but I really don’t know. Lots of people filed through the funeral line as Taylor and I thanked all the precious people that had touched Archie’s life. When almost everyone was seated, a very well dressed, GQ looking, but glazed-eyed man came through the line, with a beautiful woman on his arm. “You’re Trent, aren’t you?” I smiled. Shocked, he nodded. “Archie really enjoyed working with you.” Tears were running down his face. “I think there is something you are supposed to hear tonight.”
And then we began….
Trent had his face in his hands through most of the service eventually getting up, leaving the very confused fiance perched at his side. He slipped out after and I never saw him again. Two years later I found out he had died shortly after.
Money is money, things are things. It doesn’t take anyone special to have any certain car, house, phone—only cash. We humans serve money, doing anything and everything, including sacrificing what’s truly important, to be…mediocre. To have things that anyone can go to the same place and buy.
Heavenly Dad says we were created by Him to be more.
Matthew 10:39 “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.“
Galatians 2:20a “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;”
Ephesians 5:2 “… walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”
Happiness is a feeling like all the others. It comes, goes, is affected by sleep, what we eat, how people treat us, and how we choose to react. Joy and fulfillment are completely different. There’s no such thing as finding joy. It’s a side effect of doing, often for others.
When we focus on ourselves, what we have, don’t have—but want, and compare, we will never find joy. If we look for and focus on meeting the needs of others so their actual/real needs are met: food, water, clothes, friends, to see and feel the love of the Creator, our cup of joy will be full and overflowing.
What does that look like? How about holding a baby for a busy mom? Is there an elderly person that needs their leaves raked? What about posting grateful quotes? How about helping the widow clean out the garage and cry with her as she sorts the memories—that one was a huge one for me not so long ago. Though mission trips are amazing, there are missions right here, all around us. The crazy thing is everybody thinks that the mission is about the people you’re serving. I think Heavenly Dad’s design was that mission is for the server—so their joy could be complete.
Still a work in progress: blessings!