Green: Choosing to be rich through actions rather than assets

Renae Brumbaugh Green

I’ve never considered myself a materialistic person. I’m fine with a decent, second-hand car, as long as it gets me from point A to point B. I shop at resale shops. I glory over bargains found at Goodwill! And if I don’t have something, I make do without it until I have the money to buy it or decide I don’t need it anymore.

But sometimes, the materialism hits when I least expect it. I look at others who have more than I do, and I feel a twinge of jealousy. One friend drives a Cadillac, and that makes my Prius seem substandard. Another friend has a gorgeous pool with a hot tub, and I wonder what it must feel like to have your own vacation spa, right in your back yard. At those times, I must redirect my thoughts and remind myself how blessed I am. After all, I’m pretty sure my Prius gets way better gas mileage than a Cadillac.

Renae Green column

The other day, I was reminded of a verse in the Bible that speaks of “the riches of His kindness” (Romans 2:4), and I realized that God’s currency is way better than human currency. While only a select few have bank accounts that hold six or seven digits (before the decimal point), anyone can be rich in kindness. While only the elite get to drive Cadillacs and jet around the world on a whim, anyone can offer a smile and an encouraging word. While few can write out a check to fund a new hospital wing or provide educational scholarships to worthy students, anyone can be generous with compassion.

The sad thing is, I think both types of riches are pretty rare. Oh, everyone has moments of kindness. But to find a truly kind person, a person who always tries to make others feel important and special and loved ... that person is rich, indeed. If you find that kind of friend, hold on to them. They don’t come around every day.

I’ll admit, I’ve dreamed of being rich. What would it be like to have servants wait on you? What must it feel like to purchase whatever you want — house, cars, vacations, swimming pools, technology — whenever you want it?

King Solomon was the richest man in recorded history. This guy made Donald Trump and Bill Gates look like paupers. He was so rich, the Queen of Sheba visited him just to see all his stuff. Solomon had some choice words to say about all his wealth. He made it clear that if it’s riches you seek, you’ll never have enough. He also told us that money won’t make us happy.

But think about the currency of kindness. It makes both the giver and the receiver happy. It lifts the spirits, which is something money can’t do (at least not for very long). The more I think about it, the more I’m drawn to this unique type of cashflow. From now on, I want to be the richest woman alive, not through my assets, but through my actions.

Unlike coins, which are often hoarded, I want to be generous with kindness. Instead of slipping someone a twenty, I’ll shower them with smiles. I’ll seek ways to brighten others’ days, even when mine is gloomy. I’ll look for those who feel judged and show them acceptance. I’ll seek out those who feel alone and offer my presence. I’ll do all in my power to spread joy and ease burdens. I’ll light up the dark with the luxury of love.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” ~Colossians 3:12.

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly perfect children, and far-too-many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com