Reading time: 3 minutes Did you watch the Oscars? Did you see the glamour and glitz of the Red Carpet and the Hollywood icons? I didn’t watch much either. A little bit goes a long way. Now, you’ve got to keep up with Hollywood to keep your finger on the pulse of where society is going (that’s another topic for another day!), but I have a hard time watching the excesses of wealth. “Who are you wearing?” For real? In the kingdom of God, success and personal worth is never measured by material wealth. But that’s hard to remember when we’re bombarded by the constant message from Hollywood, Wall Street and Madison Avenue: get lots and hang on! That’s why we all need reminders about God’s economy. The accumulation of vast, outlandish amounts of wealth in order to “eat, drink and be merry” (see Luke 12 where Jesus coined that phrase as a bad example) was termed “foolish” by the Lord. Equally as foolish is measuring our worth by comparing income or possessions with those of others. C. S. Lewis points out in Mere Christianity that the desire for more wealth than the next person is not really greed; it’s pride, which Lewis calls the central sin, the source of all others. No second baseman needs $16 million a year. He only wants it because someone else is making $15 million. In God’s economy, our worth is measured by our price tag, the price Jesus paid to redeem us, His own precious blood. Pastor Kevin Kieschnick from New Orleans recently preached a wonderful sermon with a Mardi Gras theme. He told of the exuberance of parade watchers lunging for the cheap beads and fake coins thrown from floats as they pass by. How silly we are to long for things of such little value. Then Pastor Kieschnick reminded us that even if Mardi Gras beads were the real thing, gold, silver and precious jewels, in God’s value system they would be worth no more than the cheap beads that fill the attics of so many New Orleans homes. If you haven’t done so yet today, take a short break to remember how much the Lord Jesus has said you are worth. As our brother Peter reminds us, it was not gold or silver that He paid, but rather, “the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18-19, NIV). Your value and worth as a child of the heavenly Father will never be measured in dollars. Church workers and their families make many sacrifices for the Lord’s work. Often, one of those sacrifices is financial. We and our families may go without what many other families enjoy. That can lead to bitterness, resentment and a desire to cling to what we do have. I know that many who are reading this are facing major financial challenges, and I pray for God’s grace to you, and the blessing of knowing, like the widow with her mite, that generosity is a sign of trust and contentment. May our generous God bless you as you bear the burden of financial strain, and like the generous Macedonians of 1 Corinthians 8, may He give you a generous heart. Thanks for reading! Darrell Zimmerman, VP/Program Director Are you interested in helping bring a Grace Place Wellness Retreat to your region? We’d love to hear from you. Contact our President/CEO Randy Fauser today to begin exploring the possibilities. We’d love to bring our Classic Retreat to your area soon!