A GOOD LIFE: RICHNESS & WEALTH

I was recently talking to couple of friends from another country, comparing notes about life as it is lived in our respective countries. Discussing the outlook and pursuits of people in the world today, I was explaining how education is a top priority in my nation since it helped ensure good-salary-paying jobs which in turn enabled a person to live comfortably.

A third world country with a huge population, many of our farmers are taking huge debts or selling their lands to fund their children’s studies. Their families are moving away from traditional occupations in agriculture sector in villages to jobs in the IT sector in cities. I told my friends that this was understable, as they did not want their children to suffer under the vagaries of weather, failed crops, greedy money lenders, exploitation by land owners to live in poverty as they had. They wanted to free their next generation and launch them in to a pattern of stability through financial security that ensured a life of dignity.

My friends talked about the interests and pursuits of the people in their country. They shared how for them, and for most for those in their country, wealth and richness was not about money in the bank, ownership of land or property, stocks etc. It was about time spent in pursuing their interests and being involved in helping other people.

Their idea of abundance was not the ability to buy things, but being to travel to other countries, explore their food, experience their culture etc. It was being able to work with refugees, teaching them life skills and ensuring they were equipped to live in the new country. It was the freedom to pursue their interests and the luxury to realise their passions that they considered as goals to achieve.

I was struck by the contrast of what each country considered and sought after as wealth worth pursuing and gaining. For us it’s all about how much material wealth that we have,  the quantity of what we have as cash, while theirs is about the quality of life they lead.

Ours was about the ability to buy or spend, while theirs was about the ability to experience different things. Ours was all about tangible things, while theirs was about intangible things. Ours was about acquisition of concrete things, while theirs was the accruing of exploring experiences. Ours was about saving for some distant secure future, while theirs was about enjoying the present and savoring the day-to-day life. 

Of course it is to be accepted and acknowledged that, when every day life and existence itself in question or jeopardy, it is impossible to think of adventure or experiencing. Yet I couldn’t but think that, maybe we have, in the pursuit of hard wealth, missed out on the real wealth viz. time and people, especially now at a time when our country is being touted as economically sound.

We have forgotten that the greatest treasure of all is human life and the time of existence, as when these are lost they can never be regained or restored. We have also lost out on teaching our children to decipher what is of value and what is worth saving, thrusting poverty mentality on them. We have traded real treasures for baubles and trinkets that neither have substance nor provide satisfaction. 

It’s not as though we haven’t known the art of fine and right living. A look back at our history, a look at our sculptures and monuments and a look to our music and dance are enough to point out that ours is a ‘rich and varied heritage’. We just need to pause for look at where we have lost our way and trace back to find our original milestones and markers.


We become what we value and develop the nature of that which we hanker after. So, in our greed for gold, we have like Midas lost the sight and sense of sanctity of life and the commonsense of counting the days we are squandering. We have become hard and ruthless like the cash we handle, and reckless of the minutes we lose living the present in pursuit of an utopian future that we may not live to experience, let alone enjoy!

We have given up the training of our children for the provision of comforts that may end up destroying them, now and later. We have forgotten that our future is our children and traded the spending of time-in-hand with them for the acquisition of something we may lose any time. We have, as a nation, become callous and unfeeling, wasting lives and years (witness the rampage of violence and crime against the defenceless and the weak), destroying the very future we seek to secure.


Jesus said that true wealth is that which extends beyond a lifetime and thay which can be saved in a place where it cannot be stolen or destroyed. He also said that life is not in abundance of material things nor the accruing of it, something we tend to brush aside as irrelevant.

Time lost is lost forever and life wasted is wasted forever. Time and tide waits for no man, neither does life and living. When one passes on beyond to the land of the dead, nothing is of significance except how much you have valued people and how wisely you have used time. 


Let’s wake up to what in the true sense is wealth, abundance and of value. Let’s conserve and preserve the real things that have substance and can give content as well as satisfaction. Let’s transfer the sense of what is of real worth to those who have real worth, our children and our generations!

 

*Pic courtesy http://unsplash.com/

GOD HAS RIGHTS

God does have His own rights,
Ever thought of them even a mite?
God has His just demands,
Ever realized them as His commands?

Creator that He is,
Isn’t it His due to fashion as He will?
Can the clay He wants to mould His way
Rebel and want to hold its own sway?

Father that He is,
Whose love is beyond compare,
Wouldn’t it be His longing and claim
To hear His kids honor His holy name?

Master that He is,
Who can measure all that He has?
Isn’t praise and honor the correct tribute
That must be paid as His deserved due?

Royal husband that He is,
Can anyone deny Him His yearning
To be the only One His bride adores
For whom He did give up His throne with eternal longing?

Who can refuse this God anything
Who gave up His all for to gain the one thing?
He has the right to demand everything,
Yet chooses to stand in patient waiting!

Sabina Tagore Immanuel
*Wrote this after hearing and pondering the line ‘God also has His rights’ in a sunday sermon preached by Ps James Ebenezer in NLAG, Little Mount, Chennai, S.India, on 23rd Dec 2018.
*Thanks to @tstnbllt for making photo available freely on @unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/72EYDDwn8dE

VISITOR

I stared at the apparition, not sure whether I was awake or dreaming.
The thing prodded me to show that I was indeed wide awake.
"Who are you?" I stammered in fear.
"I am the book spirit that will show you a sight you will fear", it said.
"Why are you visiting me? I am no Scrooge!", I responded indignantly.
"I am here to show you the grave yard of books ", its bookhead nodded emphatically.
"Why must I see it?"
"To warn you!"
"You have lost your first love. Return to your first love, us!"
*Friday Fictioneers is talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, a prose, etc., expressing their heart about a photo prompt © Dale Rogerson

Distractions Diffuse Destiny & Direction

The soldier who leaves the post he is guarding, or the goalie who leaves the goal he is protecting or the farmer who leaves his fields to engage in action elsewhere are all as distracted as the one who is led astray by attractions.

Distractions destroy focus by involvement in unnecessary activity. The legitimacy of any work is dependent on its focus on your destiny or goal.

Nehemiah realised this and did not allow himself to be sidetracked from the work he was doing (Neh 6:1-14). Jesus set his face as flint to go to Jerusalem and was not dissuaded from fulfilling His work. Paul did the same and in spite of knowing bonds awaited him in Jerusalem, made it a point to go there.

In sharp contrast, in I Kings 13:1-32, a prophet became distracted and ended up dead.

An athlete or a racer or any competitor will not allow themselves to succumb to distractions. They cannot afford to, for even a millisecond can make the difference between winning and not doing so.

So it is necessary to be careful to guard focus, wear blinkers, like a horse, to avoid being turned aside by distractions.

Being distracted while driving can be fatal. Being distracted while performing an operation can harm rather heal the patient. Being distracted in the kitchen can cause burns and other accidents. Distractions have severe repercussions in whichever task you set out to do.

Jesus talked about thorns that choked the good seed – anxieties of this life, deceitfulness of riches and hankering after possessions. These are distractions to the growth of the right seed that will not allow it to mature. Distractions are destructive and deterrent to growth.

The Psalmist declared ‘one thing have I desired and that will I seek after’ (Ps 27) and the Apostle Paul said this one thing I do (Phil 3). These men were able to declare that they finished the race.

We live in world where attention deficiency is a major disorder with attention span being less than 10 mins. Reason: availability of multiple options, tendency for quick fixes, insecurity that promotes constant preoccupation, fear that fuels avaricious grasping, discontentment that leads to frenzied acquisitions and finally, languorous leisure that aspires for maximum gain with minimum effort. We have become like hothouse flowers that bloom quickly and fade even more faster.

Beware of distractions in the form of legitimate actions that detract you from reaching your goal. Distractions can come in the form of relationships that are a snare to our walk on the narrow path. Your compassionate concern can entangle you with people who make you drag your feet or turn you aside from the real path. Barnabas missed the mark of high calling to partner together in the gospel with Paul by choosing John Mark. People can ride on you like the old man on Sindbad’s back.

Have single-minded focus to conserve your energy and reach your target. Throw off the unnecessary weight that would divert and delay you on the path to destination. Identify and weed out things that drain and dissipate your attention so that you can sustain strength to the end. Deal with and destroy distractions that turn you aside and make you an also-ran rather than one who won the prize.

*Photo courtesy https://unsplash.com/photos/gRsBNSKgfII

Panning for (white) gold

Mom, what are those silvery sand piles?

Those are salt mounds. Those squares of small fields are salt pans.

Where does the salt come from?

What do you see there?

The sea.

Well, it comes in through this canal and salt water gets trapped in those pans. Sun causes evaporation to produce salt, which is racked into those piles.

They look dirty!

It’s cleaned before being sold as rock salt.

Do we use it at home?

Of course. Rock salt is organic.

Just remembering.

What?

We are called to be the salt of the earth!

*Friday Fictioneers is talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, a prose, etc., expressing their heart about a photo prompt © Russel Gayer

NO REGRETS

I sit here on the first day of the year, musing on the past, present and future. I come to one conclusion: Life is too short!

As the years go by, I see that one can work hard for money and possessions, but cannot earn the years to enjoy them. I conclude: Life is a gift!

I watch the parade of time, events, seasons, changes and people. I note the increase of depression, suicide, murder, abortion, death and I decide: Life is a choice!

Life is a gift, so don’t squander it. To each one is given an endowment of seconds, minutes, days and years. It may be large or small, nevertheless it is a trust. Be thankful for your inheritance. Rejoice in it. Enjoy it. Invest it and in it. Make it mean something, a thing of beauty and worth, for yourself and others. Don’t waste time, energy and resources given to you by hankering after those that are not given to you.

Life is a choice, to be lived or not, to exist or not, to enjoy or just pass time. Live fully everyday for the next may not be yours. Life is not a bed of roses, for sure as there is a waxing and a waning, day and night, gain and loss. Remember flowers bloom at night as well as in the day. Tides do ebb and flow. There is a beauty in darkness as well as in light. Learn to enjoy every season by adapting yourself its demands. Life is a dynamic flow and never a static stillness. You either resist and wear yourself out or move with it and be transformed. Choose to live.

Life is too short to be wasted with regretting your actions and reactions. Keep short accounts and don’t build up long lists by letting the sun go down on anger. It’s healthier to love and forgive than to bear grudge and become bitter. King Solomon the Wise said that a merry heart is like a medicine but a broken spirit dries the bones. So strengthen yourself with love, laughter and life. Don’t become old too quickly by being rigid and stiff, but maintain youthfulness by being flexible and pliant.

Above all, let’s not waste life by neglecting or misusing people, for their life too is short. Before you know, people are gone from this world, passed on to a place of no return. The most precious yet the most ignored entity and resource on planet earth is humankind. Each single person is an unique individual whose loss leaves a vacuum that nothing can ever fill or compensate. Don’t be hasty to cast off or throw aside people for they are not disposables. We grieve and lament when someone has moved on, but won’t it be better if we learnt to appreciate and value when they are still with us!

Let’s choose to live life to the fullest, this new year, with health and strength, as much as possible with no regrets whatsoever!

*Thanks to @theycallmetanj for making this photo available freely on @unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/QBknAHMdbz8