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You've got a friend

I would like to share with you about a friend of mine...I will call him 'Ted.' He is an 89 year old man who has dabbled in so many arenas in life. He has a plethora of knowledge and his stories? Well, let's just say you never know where those are going to take you. Ted is almost always smiling and full of life... especially with his young wife who is, yep...around 70 years old! 

You are probably wondering where I am going with this man's story... so I will just get to it. Today Ted and I had a little one-on-one time. He told me some jokes, shared some of his stories (a few of which I've heard already) and then he made me cry. Lost in thought and reminiscing, Ted began sharing how he is discovering more and more that all the money and all the possessions in the world do not matter. This smiling man was suddenly getting choked up on his words and had to actually remove his glasses to wipe his eyes. (This is about the point where I let my tears find my cheeks.)

He said, "Its the people in our lives that matter -  Friends, family - don't you forget that, Michelle."  

Ted has spent his life working for things. He has a beautiful home in an upscale neighborhood, he has traveled to many places. His common phrase is "Ive made so much money, but I spent so much money, too." The money he earned allowed him to experience things that many people never get the opportunity to. And let's not forget, Ted is on his 4th marriage to his "young" bride, as he says. 

Unfortunately, he spent so much time working and trying to make money that he lost connections with many people that were important,  including his own kids. Ted didn't realize the result of his choices until he reached his 80's. And once he reached this age he began outliving all of his friends he has known for years. "One by one...they are just gone," he said. 

Now, at 89? He has many things, but feels so alone. Those things, after all, don't make good company. They don't provide love, warmth or even conversation. (Well, maybe one-sided conversation for some folks! ha)

It broke my heart listening to him. It also got me thinking...

1. I am sure he is not the only person that feels this way later in life. 

2. We all hear these stories and know that God and family and friends are much, much more important than anything money can buy... but not all of us live in this manner. 

1 John 2:15-17 (ESV) says Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions - is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Some people get this. Some people don't. Some people even like to make us think they get it, but they truly don't. Looking closely at the above verse, we can see that "the world is passing away" and if we are chasing after it, that means we will pass away, too. But, "God abides forever." If we live out God's will for our lives to show him how much we love him, then we will have eternal life!

Our hearts are big, but not big enough to hold love for God and  for the world. Matthew 6:24 (NIV) says, No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

If you don't love God and live for God, then you are living for the world. Check the focus of your eyes before its too late!! Let Ted's story keep you from repeating his choices.

And last but not least, I think it is important to mention... Even when you are in your loneliest place, you've still got a friend. God is always by your side... no matter where you travel or what you are doing.  John 16:32 (NIV) ...Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.

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