Friday, December 07, 2012

Heads & Tales: day 6

Herod’s deal with Rome guaranteed he would have the resources he needed to rebuild Judea as a first-class cosmopolitan region. They gave him the means and in return Herod constructed Maritima and the new Temple, both of which garnered him tremendous accolades.

But fortune fades. The Temple was destroyed. Maritima was a port city that dried up, first ecologically and then economically. Within two generations after his death, everything Herod had worked for was gone.

Maybe the same could be said about any of us, and our accomplishments, but that is precisely my point.

Don’t store up treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy.

There is another kind of fortune. We ought to amass wealth in selflessness, stocks of kindness, a portfolio of grace. We ought to invest in relationships, trade in courtesy, and market the family of God.

These things persist beyond death. For example, the decision my grandfather made to embrace Christ meant that generations of listless alcoholism came to an end. My grandfather became a better man than his father, and my father better still. I have an inheritance in godliness that hasn’t yet faded, and I hope my children will see their fortunes grow.

Dave Ramsey, financial guru and personal economic expert, often reminds young couples not to spend their money on momentary luxuries. He wants them to live frugally while they’re young so they can retire early and live well off their retirement. Dave gives this piece of advice: if you’ll live like no one else now, you can live like no one else then.

I think that’s advice worth adapting to our broader concept of fortune.

If you’ll live like no one else now—
   meaning, if you’ll value others more highly than yourself
       if you’ll give without expectation
       if you’ll love and welcome strangers
then you’ll live like no one else then—
   with the assurance that your life’s impact will last longer than you will.

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