“I’ve lost it all!”
Those were the words waiting for me on the other end of the telephone after I asked how my friend’s business was going. He was reeling from the market crash of 2008. For more than two years, he’d fought to keep his business alive. But he just couldn’t do it anymore and the bank was taking the last remaining assets.
What do you say to a friend whose net worth is gone? The entire family fortune has disappeared. They’re old enough that it’s likely they’ll not have time to rebuild a retirement fund. Social security and continuing to work for a living will be a norm. For their part, they feel the bloom is off the rose. What is there to celebrate?
The Bible is clear that God is the one who makes it possible for man to create wealth. He does not choose that all should have this privilege. Most won’t. So in my friend’s case, I was quick to remind him that he was not a failure. He’d been faithful to his wife, and his children loved him. His friends held him in high esteem and valued his opinion. His failure at work was not the result of some fraud on his part.
To the contrary, to the extent he failed, it was because he’d worked too hard—maybe even gave too much. It’s not likely the “why” question will be answered this side of heaven.
Unfortunately, in this up and down economy, this story of loss is often repeated with just the names changed. But the concept of loss is real and reminds us of temporal loss and eternal loss. In truth, all of us at some point in our life will be stripped of all our earthly possessions. When our time comes to depart this planet, none of our possessions or balance sheet will remain.
The only thing that will matter is how we stand before Jesus, how we stand before our friends and family. That is all. Indeed, we all will utter the statement, “I’ve lost it all”—in reference to our material possessions. Our hope is that we’ll say with sweetness, “but I’ve gained everything!”
William F. High is the President/General Counsel of the Servant Christian Community Foundation (www.servantchristian.com). Servant’s mission is to inspire, teach and facilitate revolutionary biblical generosity. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.