I love this story. I discovered this in the Internet many years ago whose authorship is unknown to me. It’s entitled “The Richest Man in the Valley.”
Let me share this story with you.
A rich landowner named Carl often rode around his vast estate so he could congratulate himself on his great wealth. One day while riding around his estate on his favorite horse, he saw Hans, an old tenant farmer. Hans was sitting under a tree when Carl rode by.
Hans said, ‘I was just thanking God for my food.’
Carl protested, ‘If that is all I had to eat, I wouldn’t feel like giving thanks.’
Hans replied, ‘God has given me everything I need, and I am thankful for it.’
The old farmer added, ‘It is strange you should come by today because I had a dream last night. In my dream a voice told me, ‘The richest man in the valley will die tonight.’ I don’t know what it means, but I thought I ought to tell you.’
Carl snorted, ‘Dreams are nonsense,’ and galloped away, but he could not forget Hans’ words: ‘The richest man in the valley will die tonight.’ He was obviously the richest man in the valley, so he invited his doctor to his house that evening. Carl told the doctor what Hans had said. After a thorough examination, the doctor told the wealthy landowner, ‘Carl, you are as strong and healthy as a horse. There is no way you are going to die tonight.’
Nevertheless, for assurance, the doctor stayed with Carl, and they played cards through the night. The doctor left the next morning and Carl apologized for becoming so upset over the old man’s dream. At about nine o’clock, a messenger arrived at Carl’s door.
‘What is it?’ Carl demanded.
The messenger explained, ‘It’s about old Hans. He died last night in his sleep.’
So who is the truly wealthy person?
I guess the next question I have to ask you is this.
Are you truly wealthy?
I know many people who are greedy. Some are open and even honest with their greed. I remember one gentleman who talked to me one day and said, “You know Francis why we are not as wealthy as the super millionaires out there? “Why sir?” I asked. With a serious look in his eye he looked at me sternly and said, “Because we are not greedy enough.”
“Whoa!” I have never heard anyone say something like this but at least he is honest. The closest thing is Gordon Gekko from the movie “Wall Street” who popularized the famous chant of the 80’s “Greed is good!” (And he landed in jail)
But the worst kind of greedy people are those who scheme, plan, deceive and persist in saying, “It’s not the money but the principle behind it.” “Yeah Right!” It must be the principle of greed that’s what. Meanwhile they rob you blind.
I have seen the greedy falling and I have seen the greedy fallen. I have seen the generous blessed. God does not sleep. The scheming greedy people when given enough rope will hang themselves. Because they have forgotten the principle that greed may get them what they want but will certainly rob them of what they already have.
Meanwhile, we have to make sure that our riches and wealth would go beyond this life and the boundaries of this decaying planet. And when our riches are in our intimacy with Christ then this kind of investment is safe. Our relationship with our loved ones is strong. We have peace in our heart. We have the confidence to face people because we are as real as we can be. This for me is what true riches is all about.