Before you answer that question, let me tell you a story.
There was a man, Frank, he worked all his life for everything he had yet he barely had nothing by the end of his life.
Everything he had worked for was taken away from him by his children, his wife had passed away three years prior to his utterly disturbing diagnosis of Pancreatic cancer.
What little he had left he gave away, he donated millions to charity and then had it put in his will that everything else go to the make a wish foundation.
His dear Anna would have wanted it that way.
Now, as he sits on an old wooden park bench all alone with a few pieces of stale bread he had gotten from his favorite bakery on fifth street near his wife’s favorite beauty parlor, he’d throw the pieces one by one, watching the birds peck away.
And all of a sudden this young man sits down next to him.
The old man quite startled by the company jumps back a bit, the younger man asks if he’s alright to which Frank replies “yes”
As he settles back down on the old wooden bench he begins to question the younger man sitting next to him.
“I see you have an engagement ring poking out of your coat pocket, who’s the lucky lady?”
Taken by surprise the younger man replied, “excuse me? I don’t even know your name?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, Frank. My names Frank, and you are?”
“I’m John, how’d you know abou-”
“Well you are a young man, and based on the sneakers you’re wearing with such a fine suit as that, being that your neck tie is slightly loosened, the richness of your dark hair, the texture of your skin and flawless wrinkle free face, I’d say you are about 23 years old, due to the value of the watch you’re wearing you are a rich man as well, being that you are only 23 years old wearing sneakers with such a high quality suit Id say that the money you have isn’t yours though, not entirely, you clearly didn’t get it by chance, you earned it from working on your fathers ranch, I can see that by the toned out body you have and the calluses on your hands, also the ring bulging from your coat pocket appears to be an 18 karat and if I’m not mistaken that haircut you have came from Shirley’s Beautician and Spa which would have cost you about $125.99 with a $15 tip, but of course you’re also a giver so I’m sure you donated at least $25 more to her charity fund that helps disabled veterans. The picture of you and a young girl is slightly hanging out of your coat pocket, I would assume she was your sister, but by the way you’re holding her and from how she looks at you I have to say she’s your girlfriend, based on the initials on the picture I presume her name is Louise. Anything else, John?”
“Uh… No, not at all sir…”
“Are you from around here Frank? I haven’t seen you before.”
“I mostly keep to myself, but you see, I’m dying John.”
“Dying? Of what?”
“Pancreatic Cancer.. I don’t have long, I want to spend the rest of my days out here, it’s where I find peace and comfort”
“I know what you mean, when I was little my dad would bring me here all the time.”
“I know, your dad didn’t always have much time for fun did he John?”
“No, you’re right, he didn’t. How did you know?”
“Well he’s a rancher, I assume he first struck it rich with oil, then he purchased cattle to further sustain himself, the cattle that when you were old enough helped him tend to. As a young boy he was always working, he only had Saturday’s off which is when he brought you here, to this park. Where you’d feed the birds on this bench, and talk about life.”
“Yeah, that’s exactly right, how do you know so much anyways Frank?”
“I’m old, John. That’s a benefit of being old, wisdom. I brought my kids here when they were younger too, they could never appreciate it though. Always wanted to go and play at the arcades with their friends.”
“Sorry to hear that sir.”
The old man sighed deeply as he looked out at the birds pecking away at the bread, as he goes to toss the last piece to them, something doesn’t seem right.
A sharp pain shot through his chest, up his neck and throughout his body, he stiffens all over. He tries to gasp for air but fails.
The young man next to him, surprised in a panic calls 911.
But he was too late. The old man died with that last piece of bread barely hanging out of his hand.
When the young man returned home he told his fiancé, Louise all about his experience at the park, she thought he was insane, but when he proposed to her later that night she without hesitation accepted with glee.
The story is fictional, but the moral point I hope to make, is very real.
Sometimes in life, we live all our life looking for a meaning, a purpose and a value greater than we can imagine. And while there is no doubt that there isn’t something bigger out there, sometimes, some of us never find it, because we are too caught up in the riches of the world, instead of enjoying the riches of life.
The riches of life are far greater than any riches the world could ever offer.
These riches are love, faith, family, friends, laughter, joy, peace, kindness and togetherness.
One might have all the riches of the world… But if they lack just one of the riches of life. Then sadly, without even knowing so, they are one of the poorest alive.
So I leave you with the same question I had in the beginning.
Are you wealthy? And if so, how wealthy are you?