The difference between money and wealth

The last few days I’ve been struck with thoughts several times of, “I wish I had,” or “I need to buy,” and “I can’t afford to…”

Part of those thoughts is because I’m looking toward spring and a possible trip to Ireland with my son. As a single, retired teacher, there are definite limits to my budget. I must plan for and produce enough extra income to cover the cost. As the cost of living continues to sky rocket, my retirement salary does not.

I need a set of new tires before winter. My house could use a new coat of paint. I’d like to have another bathroom and closet added to my house, and maybe convert the back deck to an office and bathroom. I’d like to go to Dollywood for a day this fall, or an overnight in the Smokies with my camera. I’d like to go shopping for clothes and not have to look at a price tag for just one day and stay away from the “bargain” racks.

Most of those are things I want, but don’t have to have. I have enough money to pay my bills, enough to do things for my grandchildren and parents when they need it or when I want to do something nice for them. I have enough to support my local church.

Money is certainly a limitation for most of us. I’ve heard many people say that having plenty of money to do what you want is a good thing, but often, the things you want to do will still exceed your money. I’ve known a lot of people in my life with a huge amount of money, but most of them were not happy with life and had a great deal of tragedies to deal with in their families.

We often make the mistake of equating money with wealth. Money is simply the currency needed to exchange for goods or services, while wealth is the abundance of money or material possessions. I don’t have a lot of money, but I consider myself wealthy far beyond cash or possessions.

In my view, wealth is based on the number of blessings in our lives that can’t be measured or bought, attained by money. Wealth is founded in good health (which can’t be bought), loving relationships (which can’t be stored in the bank), and a natural sense of appreciation and gratitude for the world around us (which can’t be measured in dollars and cents). I am a wealthy woman. I am blessed beyond measure in more ways than I can count. The lack of an expensive car, a bigger house, or trips around the world does not diminish me.

I love the fact that when God looks at us, or hears our prayers, the only thing he sees is our heart and not our financial ranking. In his eyes, each human soul is invaluable, and each one as precious as the other. The love of God for humanity is the great equalizer. We, as people who walk in relationship with Him, are the central source of His wealth. He values us as much as every star, and every planet created by Him. He valued us enough, rich or poor, that He sent His own son to take on our sins and set us free to voluntarily give our hearts to Him.

With the scope of God’s wealth beyond anything we could possibly comprehend, He values us as His great treasure. Humanity is His fortune. We are His workmanship, created in His image. More than diamonds or precious gems, gold or silver, we are the crowning jewel of His creation. Each soul is precious in His sight. Each of us holds great value.

To be valued by God, Creator of the universe and all that it contains, sends a message of its own. We are part of God’s wealth. So, when we are tempted to look at our own lives and how much money we do or do not have, we must look beyond those numbers and see the wealth we’ve been given.

My bank account would never impress anyone, but I am truly wealthy. If an abundance of cash or transfer of material goods ever takes place in my life, it will not replace the wealth I already have.

Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Judith Victoria Hensley at judith99@bellsouth.net or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.