True wealth is found in the context of community.

Close to this time last year, I found myself in an ER facing what I thought might be the end. Lungs filling with fluid, coughing up blood, heart not pumping properly and wondering who to even call as we had just moved to a new city and state. Never felt so alone and regretful in all my life. Since then some cool things have happened. My heart (although still needing recovery) took a turn for the better, moving closer to a range that’s not considered “failing.” Since then so many things have happened in my life. Here’s just one thing I learned this last year…

Wealth should be measured by relationships.

The true, more invaluable wealth, is the love that we give to others and the fruit we reap from that service. Give more! Encourage, inspire, bless, serve, talk to, listen to, help, be present for and provide for others. Be present! This is the litmus test: the amount of relational presence we have in other’s lives – the part we play in their story.

Keeping your heart full and mind right.

Being personally empty or entrapped in an anxious, grumpy, negative or uninspired posture creates a vacuum. This poor spiritual posture results in all the life and substance of our ministry to others, and our capacity to create moments that matter to be diminished. To be present in other’s lives and to make meaningful connections we must sever every distracting and anxious tether. We must shed our care and concern regarding loss and inconvenience. People can never be in the way of the person that make’s loving other’s their primary business.

Slow down, breathe deep and look around.

This last challenge sounds like something out of Star Wars flick. I’m not talking about “reaching out” to sense the “force.” I am referring to the risk and damage that fast-paced, busy, over-planned living can create. Just as we must internally be filled and empowered to mean something (more) to others so we must resist the inertia and momentum of the world we live in. It too, like anxiety, can swallow up our capacity to make moments and the time we need for others.

If you’ve never read the book, In Praise of Slowness, I highly recommend it. We have to learn slowness if we want to succeed in the realm of relationship. We have to pace ourselves and tame our actual schedules even. We need to be able to survey a room, our network, and our lives and recognize the needs and opportunities to serve others around us. We need eyes that see and ears that hear. Work to mean more to others. If we start looking through the lens of relationship, learn to be full and slow down our lives will become truly rich and peace will be established in our hearts.

A Hard Truth.

“When we start out in life we think everything is about us. We eventually learn the hard truth that we play just a small part in someone else’s story.” – A God Somewhere

This “hard truth” is the essential lesson. We must fight the pull of our culture toward self-centeredness and the worship of empty status. We should, as servants, be looking to be “small” in a way. We need to find our place into as many stories as possible. It’s possible to become too big for other people’s story and miss out on the eternal value of meaning more to them. Be present and make a moment!