Doug Johnson: Living for more than wealth

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 20, 2023

With a rise in the number of billionaires in the world I began to wonder– how much is $1 billion?  Here’s a few illustrations to explain it:

Suppose a man gave his wife one million dollars. He told her to go out and spend a thousand dollars a day. She did. Three years later, she told him the money was all gone and she wanted more.

He then gave her one billion dollars. He told her to go out and spend a thousand dollars a day. The money lasted over 2,700 years!

Email newsletter signup

Or suppose a business started in the year 1 A.D. with one billion dollars capital.  Supposing further that the business was so unsuccessful as to lose a thousand dollars a day.  It would still be in business today, after having lost a thousand dollars daily for 2,023 years and could continue another 717 years longer, or until the year 2740, until its original capital of one billion dollars was exhausted!

Or if someone would give you one billion dollars in dollar bills on the condition that you count each one—don’t do it. It will take you sixty years, 365 days a year, eight hours a day — and it may break your health before you are halfway through!

Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, Tesla and other companies has been rated by Forbes Magazine as one of the richest people in the world for many years. According to the 2023 Forbes list of the world’s billionaires, Mr. Musk is worth (are you ready for this?) approximately $180 billion!  How much money is that?  Consider this: the current world population is around 8 billion people. Elon Musk can afford to give $20.00 to every man, woman and child on the planet and still have money left over for himself!  

So why all this talk about money?  Jesus said in Mark 8:36-37: “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”  

In other words, your soul is your most valuable asset.  Please don’t misunderstand me — I have nothing against Elon Musk and I don’t know where he stands with God. I simply want you to think about how valuable you are to God. 

The sad truth is there are people who spend a great amount of their time trying to accumulate earthly wealth and they pass by the greatest treasure of all. I am not against wealth or success and neither is God. But what good is success without knowing how to get to heaven? What good does it do to have a five-year plan for your company and yet not know where you’ll go if your life ends today? 

Years ago, a wealthy industrialist leaped from the ninth-story room of a Chicago hotel leaving behind this note: “I am worth ten million dollars as men judge things, but I am so poor in spirit that I cannot live any longer. Something is terribly wrong with life.” 

He was right. Something was terribly wrong with his life because he had not found the true riches in Christ.

No matter what goals you have set for the future, take a moment and ask yourself this question: What am I living for? You see, Jesus is the door to heaven and true riches. So the next time you are feeling down or depressed remember: to God you are worth more than $180 billion!

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.