2016 is just beginning and many of us will soon begin planning events to note and mark this year’s significant milestones, remembrances, and special occasions. Several years ago at one such event – my ten-year high school reunion, God revealed a great truth to me about my driving need for more and living within His timeline and not mine. It was a life lesson on how to move forward and not let the past derail the future.
I hadn’t seen most of my classmates since graduating from Las Vegas High School as I had been living in the Mid-West attending college and beginning a career and family. Las Vegas in the ’60’s and 70’s had been a unique and interesting place to grow up. From a tourist perspective, it was a city of glitz, glamour, and fast money, but I saw the ugly underbelly of the city. The city hummed with a driving pulse of people who were searching for more money to win at the gambling tables, more power and recognition as hotels and attractions were built bigger and brighter, and more stardom as every teen idol or movie star would come to perform on the famous Las Vegas “Strip.”
When I walked confidently into that beautiful Las Vegas hotel ballroom the night of my reunion, the first person who came up to me was a guy I had gone through school with from kindergarten to graduation. Steve had been the president of our senior class and what came out of his mouth next (I think) was meant to be a compliment. “You sure look different from that 1st day of kindergarten,” he said, “I remember you had holes in your pants!” The comment hit me hard. It brought back the memory of the death of my brother that same year and my family’s financial hardships during that time in my life. For a fleeting moment, I felt insecure – ashamed – defensive.
The sting lasted only momentarily as my adult eyes refocused and I saw that I had been blessed with a loving family and a truly unique place that God had planned for me. No, it wasn’t the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip that promised riches, fame, and stardom, but the bright light of Jesus that promised security, contentment and lasting peace that had made the difference in my life. I had been born into a family that wasn’t rich by world standards but had grasped the knowledge of the riches of eternal love and contentment. This world was not my final destination and the things I that I would accumulate in life or any influence or power that I would attain due to my accomplishments would pass away, but my soul would live on because of the redemption and love of Jesus.
God places us in families, countries, and cultures for His purposes. It’s up to us to continually learn and grow from our past (good or bad). He has a unique place and position for each of us today so that He can take us to our next tomorrow. If we stay stuck in poverty thinking and miss what He has planned for us, we will remain in poverty, but if we grasp the knowledge and the promises that are written in God’s Word, we position ourselves for riches untold. Contentment mysteriously appears in any dismal or hopeless circumstance when we fully trust and allow God to enter our lives without restraint or reservations.
When I was 6 on the 1st day of school I never doubted that I was loved or cared for so it didn’t matter if I had holes in my pants nor did it matter when I was 28 years old and an adult. At the end of your life, accomplishments, possessions, or wealth won’t matter either. All that will matter will be how well you cared and loved others and whether the only relationship that will ever matter is solid – your relationship with Jesus Christ.
When I left my high school reunion that night, I realised God had lifted me from that impoverished, scarcity thinking to eternal thinking. I had gained the spiritual knowledge of knowing that I had nothing to be ashamed, embarrassed, or defensive about because Jesus had revealed far greater riches to me. As 2016 begins, walk into the New Year with a new rich understanding of living in contentment with riches untold. True confidence comes when you are secure in the knowledge of who your are in His kingdom and the knowledge that God is planning great things for you in the future as His love permeates your soul.
Matt 6:19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and dust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.”