Do you want to be a Billionaire?
It seems that lately my appetite for more is in one word: insatiable.
We compare what we have with what others have, and find ourselves lacking. It is on every channel, and in every store. We live in the most affluent country on the planet, and yet no one seems to know how to define “enough.”
This was pointed out to me at the strangest place, a yard sale.
Just like everybody else in America, I love a good yard sale! I enjoy sifting through someone else’s treasures. It is actually fun to have one on your own, but it is so much more fun to do it for a worthy cause. One day, we had a yard sale for missions. We were working to raise money for the Rwandan Mission team and the teaching and training of pastors there.
It was an epic failure! Let me clarify–the yard sale was a success, the failure was all mine.
In preparation, I sifted through mounds of stuff. I went to others and asked them for their stuff. I even hit up my girls. I gave both of them a bag and told them to fill it up. Their instructions were clear: “Go find things that you no longer wanted and give it ‘to help others.’ ”
Like all yard sales, Saturday began very early. We priced things to move! Practically giving away items just to raise a buck, but mostly to get rid of the stuff. At one point when things were going well, I had a brilliant idea. “Let’s take some pictures so that the people in Rwanda can see how hard everyone has to work just to get to go over there.” It sounded good in my head, but once it came out, not so much. An onlooker said simply, “Think about that one. How is that going to work?”
I looked around and realized something; we were selling all of the excess things that we no longer wanted to aid them in acquiring water, and shoes, and maybe an extra clean shirt.”Would those precious people that I needed to impress with my picture even understand excess?
More importantly why do I get to?
It was finally beginning to sink in when the pastor from Rwanda came outside. He was present at the yard sale witnessing a true taste of Americana. I approached him. I just had to know what he thought of this scene. Knowing he was intrigued on a previous visit to America about simple things like ice, I just had to know what this event looked like to him. His answer stopped me cold. I was speechless. He looked around at all of our unwanteds. The excess someone was going to throw away, the things that no one valued anymore, and said
“If I had all of this, I would be a billionaire.”
Convicted, I had no response. I had to just walk away. I have been so blessed, but rarely acknowledge it.
Why did the man from Africa have to point out my wealth to me? Why is enough just not enough anymore? We have so many things that we can’t even manage it all. We spend our days cleaning up all of the extras. I fall over the toys that are sprawled out all over the floor, the ones that no one seems to value enough to pick up.
You see, my failure on Saturday was an ungrateful heart. More disheartening than that is teaching and modeling an ungrateful heart to my girls. I have been sucked into a culture which creates a desire for more. Even my little girls have been a victim and will protest about hearing the word “No.” I have given in to the facade not because it was right, but because it is easier.
I am refusing to do the hard things because well … they are hard.
Which leads me back to my desire. I still want to be a billionaire, that didn’t change. Now it is just a different kind. I am praying for riches that cannot be bought or sold. I am longing for a satisfied soul that is not the product of material things.
What is your perspective on material things? What does enough mean to you?
Awesome article, Raney! I think you told your story well and it translates a very important message. We are ALREADY billionaires, most of us, in the physical sense. No need to strive further for that goal. But the goal of a rich relationship with our awesome God and each other is worth the extra effort.