(Our dear brother in Christ and friend Mr. Jack Howell went to be with our Lord this past Friday. We will miss him, and I send the message below, written and sent out in 2012, as a tribute to our Lord and to Mr. Howell.)
"Mr. Jack Howell"
"We had everything money couldn't buy."
(Mr. Jack Howell, 1/4/2012)
Instantly upon hearing our dear friend Mr. Howell's testimony recounting his growing up in a wonderful family during the Depression, I knew I would be writing about it. Indeed, outside of Scripture, I don't know if I've ever heard any words more descriptive of what life is all about - and what it isn't all about. Again, "we had everything money couldn't buy!"
To make matters all the more blindingly and stunningly clear, Mr. Howell went on to say, "You know, you can't buy anything real with money." Have mercy, sir! One heart-shattering, earth-quaking, mind-numbing statement at a time, if you please! The rest of us mere mortals cannot process the thoughts of angels in such measure of heavenly light! :)
Seriously, I do not expect during this lifetime to hear truer or more profound words, other than those directly stated in the Bible's Divinely-inspired text. Money is a tool we use for the exchange of goods and services. Scripture speaks much of it, and clearly commands that we use it properly for the purposes of giving, spending, and investing. However, the truest thing about money is that none of us actually possess a penny of it! It rather belongs to Somebody else. Let us breathe the sweet sigh of heavenly relief as we recall the truth that neither our money or our possessions belong to us - "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof, the world, and they that dwell therein" (Psalm 24:1). Few Biblical truths can more instantaneously infuse our hearts with God's tranquility as we remember the proper place of money, and our rightful role as stewards rather than owners. Those who "have everything money can't buy" understand and experience the truth that real things come to us by way of grace rather than barter. Indeed, the primary reason the Lord Jesus Christ scourged and drove out the moneychangers from His Father's house is that the temple of God is a place of grace rather than buying and selling. This includes the temple of our hearts, wherein our Lord freely gives to us the relational realities that alone satisfy and fulfill our innermost being. As Frances often says, "Life is about God and people. Everything else is just stuff!" Or, as both Old Testament and New Testament command, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Mark 12:30-31).
The more we realize that "real things" can't be bought with money, the more we will know the joy of that which the Lord Jesus referred to as "the true riches" (Luke 16:11). Moreover, the more we realize we are stewards rather than owners, the more our hearts will rest in the peace of a possession-less life. Again, let us breathe the sweet sigh of faith's relief as we look to our Heavenly Father in the acknowledgment, "It's all Yours, Lord, just as I am all yours!" Thank you, Mr. Howell, for a sublime reminder of such truth, and for words that many of us will remember for a lifetime and an eternity. "We had everything money couldn't buy!" And thank You, Heavenly Father, for Your ongoing gift of that which money cannot buy, the gift of Yourself revealed in blessed and innumerable expressions of grace unto and within our hearts.
"A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:15).
Weekly Memory Verse (one of the first Bible verses I ever memorized)
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.
(I Peter 1:22)