What does it mean to be rich?
We live in a world that comes at us with every thinkable and unthinkable answer to this question. Most of it boils down to luxury and possessions. A solid career, financial freedom, a comfortable living – these are the things that most often grab at the joy-hungry hearts of the people of our time. In the midst of this cloud of attraction, it is often times difficult to think of this question apart from all these pretty and attractive things that surround our lives.
But, in the end, what is it that truly matters most?
These past few months have been the happiest, richest and most joyful time of my life. Seeing this, I have been trying to think back in retrospect, trying to see exactly what it is that has made this such an amazing time, and how this stands up in light of what the Bible says is most important. Sure, I am happy. But I don’t want to settle for anything less than the real thing. If my joy does not arise from the depths of what God has to say about joy then I am still missing out on life, no matter how happy I think I may be.
Two major things have stood out to me.
The first and foremost factor that determines our experience of life is our worldview. The interpretive grid through which we view life will be the determiner of how we live it. Now, this is not a simple issue. Worldviews are very complicated and often times influenced by thousands of factors, many of which we ourselves are unaware.
If God invented life and joy and all the other good things, then the closer we are to his perspective on life, the more rich and amazing our experience of life will be. Scripture depicts God as a happy, joyful and deeply content God and it is from him alone that we can learn to be the same.
Now, it is not enough to merely say, “I believe in God, and I want to love everyone.” Cultivating a God centered worldview is a thorough, challenging and laborious process. It is a continual pursuit involving the whole self into a process of deepening of our understanding of all that God says about life. This is not something that can happen as a side thing in our lives but must be something that is central to our existence every single day.
The more deeply and passionately we pursue a mindset that is saturated in Scripture, the more clearly we begin to see everything else in life, the more wisely we are able to cultivate our priorities and values. The joyful experience of a rich life always flows out of having a clear picture of what is most valuable, and building it into our existence. With time, the valuable things that are built into our lives influence many of our actions and choices and yield fruits of riches and contentment far above what we had before.
The richest possible experience of life starts with coming to the one who is above it all, who designed the soul, and learning from Him. A joy that is not learned from God is a joy that falls short of that for which we were created.