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Hope for the Future

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Hope for the Future - November 15, 2005

"What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" Mark 8:36

In the past few weeks, I helped to unveil two large projects in our community: a children's hospital and a new downtown hotel. I'm proud to be a part of both of these plans. I'm sure many people look at these buildings as simply bricks and mortar with a high price tag. But while some may view them as materialistic, I can't help but think of the benefits they will bring to the area. Our community will be a better, healthier, thriving place because of the work that so many people have put into them and the jobs provided by them.

As strongly as I believe in persistence, confidence, accountability and other qualities that make such projects possible and that are essential to a successful and rewarding life, I believe even more in the necessity of having a deep, personal faith in God. For me, that means that I put my trust in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Sometimes people are surprised to hear a person of wealth discuss the importance of spiritual things. But I'm here to tell you that faith matters. Nothing convinces a person of the inadequacy of money or power quite so fast as having some of it! Many people live their whole lives laboring under the illusion that if they only had enough money or power, then all their problems would disappear. Yet if those same people were to acquire a fortune, they would quickly discover just how few problems money can solve! Money won't soothe a guilty conscience or mend a broken heart. Genuine wealth comes from the hand of God, and real happiness only grows out of faith in Him.

I think it's also important to say, however, that wealth is not necessarily an impediment to faith or spirituality. Material things were put on this earth for people to enjoy. God does not object to that. The Bible tells us not to worship material things, not to make idols out of them, but it doesn't tell us not to enjoy the fruits of the earth or of our own labor.

So the important thing is that we use the money we have wisely; that we do the best we can with what we've been given. When money comes between us and God, money can corrupt. We are never self-reliant; God provides all we have. As we enter this season of thankfulness and preparing for Christmas, that is especially important to remember.

Building projects and other measures of success are empty and unsatisfying without faith. Without God, life has no purpose or direction, and the good life is impossible. As Jesus said, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8:36).

Rich DeVos is the former chairman of Gospel Communications. He is also the author of "Hope From My Heart: Ten Lessons for Life," co-founder of Amway Corp., and owner and chairman of the NBA's Orlando Magic.

 
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