Saturday, September 15, 2012

Gold, Silver, and Socks

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein had shared an important article that he wrote. It touched my heart and has left some valuable insights. Here it goes:

“‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” — Haggai 2:8.

Edward Reichman passed away in Jerusalem at the age of 80. He was a real estate tycoon who left behind billions of dollars. He also left two wills with instructions to open the first will immediately, and the second, 30 days after his death. When the Reichman family opened the first will, they found a peculiar request. Edward had asked to be buried in his favorite pair of socks.

Now, Judaism has very clear laws when it comes to death and burial. Every Jew is buried in simple burial shrouds and nothing more. Nothing else is allowed on the body or in the casket. Period. Rich and poor alike are all buried the same way.

The Reichman children didn’t know what to do. Their father was a learned and pious man, but his request seemed to contradict the law. They went to rabbi after rabbi, seeking permission to obey their father’s request. But no God-fearing rabbi could help them. Edward Reichman was buried the same way as everyone else – without his socks.

Thirty days later, Edward’s children opened his second will. This is what it said: “My dear children, by now you must have buried me without my socks. I wanted you to truly understand that a man can have all the money in the world, but in the end, he can’t even take along one pair of socks!”

In the book of Haggai, God says, “The silver is mine and the gold is mine.” No matter how much wealth a person acquires in this world, it’s never truly his. It’s just on loan from God for the years that he or she lives.

We tend to think of our money as – well – our money. But the truth is that it’s not ours at all. It belongs to God. Instead of asking, “How should I spend my money?” The question should be “How should I spend God’s money?”

That small change in words can make a huge shift in our thinking. If the money were ours, the focus would be on what gives us pleasure, but since the money belongs to God, we start to think about what kinds of things matter to the Lord.

What do you spend God’s money on? We may not be able to take gold or silver, or even a pair of socks with us when we leave this world. But we will be able to take all of the good deeds that we do with God’s money while we are still living. (1)
But let me say this. I am running this race of life, and the Bible tells me that one day in heaven there will be a reward waiting for me. It won't be based on how much I have done or how much recognition I have gained in the course of my life. It will be based on how faithful I was to what God called me to do. The same is true for you. Your reward will be based on how faithful you have been through the days of your life to the calling you have received from God.

The author of Hebrews wrote, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. "(Hebrews 12:1)

Let me also say that I am not running this race for the reward. Nor am I running it for other people or to score points. I am running this race for Jesus. He is the One we all should be running for.

The apostle Paul presents the same principle in Philippians 3:10: "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. . .." Paul was saying, "This is why I'm doing it. My purpose for running this race is to know Jesus Christ." That is what mattered to him. And that is what should matter to us. (2)

It is unfortunate that so many people are ignorant of the everlasting life that can follow this one. Through God's promise of glory in eternity, we no longer have anything to fear from death. Whatever befalls us in this lifetime, it is nothing in relation to the eternal home that awaits us. We need to focus on the life to come in times of trial and sorrow. In the face of death we can feel secure that everything will be just fine.


 (1) Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, is a rabbi and the founder and current President of the International Fellowship of Christian and Jews, which is headquatered in Chicago and Jerusalem. 

(2.) Excerpts taken from Pastor Greg Laurie's notes "Purple Ribbons" -- Harvest Weekend Devotion.


Raj Kosaraju

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