Do you dream of winning the lottery and getting rich? Are you prepared to deal with that sudden wealth? What if you worked hard to earn every penny of your wealth? With all the blood, sweat, and tears, would you be different?
Suppose a wealthy man stands on the shores of an ocean. This rich man has everything. He owns a personal jet, has several mansions, everything he wants is at his disposal. The man is wealthy, healthy and lives in a different world than the average person. He’s a billionaire and runs a vast conglomerate. There he stands staring at the limitlessness of the waters, wondering how far it reaches; wondering how deep is the ocean.
Further up the coast another man stands at the shores. Many people recognize him when he walks down the street. Crowds gather to hear him speak. He is famous, admired, and paparazzi follow him wherever he goes, yet he also stands at the ocean shores alone. Gazing across the waters, he practices his script for tomorrow’s audition. No one hears him. The ocean waves crash, deadening the sound of his voice.
Both men have what others only dream of. They seem to have it all together. Some envy them while others hold them in high esteem. Yet when these two men stand at the vastness of the ocean, they are small; they are powerless.
They have enough money to buy whatever they desire. Both men have plenty and supporters are ready to respond to their requests. When they speak, others listen. Yet they stand alone on opposite ends of the shore.
The ocean is larger than life. A sudden tide could emerge rushing over them and whatever possessions they own wouldn’t matter. Their bodies would float out to sea and the ripple effect would influence such great loss. Grief would consummate their loved ones. All their priceless antiques and treasures would go to someone else. Their personal jet bequeathed to a loved one and their businesses to be run by someone else.
What significance did they have? What kind of legacy did they leave?
Vincent van Gogh said, “There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.”
At the end of the day, the rich and the poor will meet the same destiny. Where they began may be as diverse as the lives they lived. Their journeys may be as different as night and day; yet when it ends they both leave this world in death.
Did these men make a difference? One might say their lives did matter. Were they kind, trustworthy, and dedicated men? Were they giving, generous souls who spoke words of encouragement?
Charles Spurgeon once said, “Time is short. Eternity is long. It is only reasonable that this short life be lived in the light of eternity.”
What would you do if you were the rich man? Would you be the generous soul, encouraging others, and profoundly touching lives?
Would you be willing to make a positive difference?