Sep 21: Luke 16:11 If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?
Sep 22: Luke 16:9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.
Sep 23: 1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.
Sep 24: Matthew 6:33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
“Twenty years and it comes down to this!”
I am old fashioned when it comes to friends. Some say I am fiercely loyal. Perhaps it is because I know of no other way. I faithfully visit the mother of my secondary school mate during Chinese New Year, for more than a quarter of a century, though in recent years I don’t even get to see my secondary school mate anymore during such visits, for he has married and stayed away from his mother.
And hence, the statement above hurts.
It hurts because it comes from a friend of more than 20 years, and he was using it to emotionally blackmail me. He knew I had a windfall recently, and he was in dire need of money and he wished to borrow some. When I refused, he used the statement on me.
Flashes of the twenty years of our friendship cross my mind, and I don’t think I have been any less of being a friend. I was there when his wife walked out of him and I helped him search the streets at 3am. I was there when he was all down and out drinking at the last car park along East Coast Park. I was there.
Then it dawned on me. “In their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.”
He needed the money not because someone was sick, but rather, he had entered into some bad investments and needed more money to roll. I was initially prepared to lend him some, and treat the money as bad debts – for I value the friendship. However, the statement he used on me prompted me to say “No”. Not at all. Even if it cost a twenty- year friendship.
It is painful. But I look upon God to say that it is okay. I have to learn to discern, and be ready to let go of some of my old self, in order to enter into His kingdom. Faith is not following blindly. Faith is to say I am not sure what lies ahead, that the light at the end of the tunnel may be the headlights of an oncoming train, but I will still trudge ahead. Because I have faith.
True riches lie not in material wealth. Nor in friendships built on this world.
And I thank God for planting the true riches in me, and I seek earnestly to continue to build true riches in His name. Amen!