The Richness of Being

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Year after year Stumpy and Martha attended the fair in their home state, and every summer it was the same story.
Stumpy was tantalized by the old-fashioned biplane in which anybody could take a ride for ten dollars, and Martha was disgusted by such an obvious waste of money.
“Ten dollars is ten dollars,” she would always say.  And Stumpy would go home without his airplane ride.
One year Stumpy said, “Martha, there’s that biplane.  Now, I am 81 years old and this year I want to go for a ride.”  Martha bristled, “There you go again.  Don’t you realize that ten dollars is ten dollars?”
At this point the man who owned the biplane, and who had heard this conversation as far back as he could remember, intervened. “Listen, you two, I’ll make you a deal.  I’ll give you both a ride for free if you promise not to say anything during the flight.  If you speak even one word, I’ll charge you the ten dollars.”  Stumpy and Martha thought that sounded fair, and off they went.
The pilot put on quite a show.  He took his plane through banks and spins and loop-the-loops, and then did the whole thing over again.  Amazingly, he never heard a single word.
When the plane landed he looked back at Stumpy and said, “I’ll have to admit I’m impressed.  You never spoke once.”
“Well,” said Stumpy, “I was going to say something when Martha fell out of the plane, but ten dollars is ten dollars.”
If there’s one thing that Americans understand, it’s the value of money.  If there’s one thing that those in our culture fundamentally misunderstand, it’s the value of relationships.
What are the best things in life? 
The best things in life are not things.
In our heart of hearts, we all know that to be true.  We yearn for the richness of being.  Unfortunately, it’s widely assumed that the quickest pathway to the richness of being is the richness of having
The answer posed by the name of the popular game show – Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? – is fairly obvious.  Almost everyone does. 
Of course, a million dollars isn’t what it used to be.  According to the Schwab 2021 Modern Wealth Survey, the threshold for being thought “wealthy” in the United States is having a net worth of $1.9 million.  According to the breathless advertisements that bombard us every hour, that kind of money should offer us the freedom to retire early.  And the adventure of that incredible trip to Italy you’ve always wanted to take.  And the joy of renovating your house just like the ones on HGTV. 
Money makes extraordinary promises.  But in the long run, money can’t keep any of them.  That’s because freedom, adventure, and joy aren’t for sale.  They never have been, and never will be. 
What money cannot buy, however, God gives for free.
The richness of the life you’ve always wanted won’t cost you a million dollars.  Or even ten dollars. 
The greatest treasure in the world is knowing that you’re the deeply-loved child of a God who will never let you go – all because of the price that He paid.