Written by: Dr. Whitaker, Head of School
When you have each other, money means nothing.
Allen and Violet Large received news that after 36 years together, life may be taking a tragic turn. Violet was diagnosed with cancer. Even amidst the turmoil of bad news they continued to live their simple life with joy. One of the weekly activities they enjoyed together was purchasing a lottery ticket. They’d never won more than $1,000 dollars. However, this week was different.
According to The Chronicle Herald, they chose numbers in the “Lotto 649” that day. Violet thought that they had won $10. To her amazement there were more zeros there than she first recognized. She called Allen saying, “Come check these numbers.” They won $11.2 million!
After a day or two of celebration, they came to a surprising decision together. They decided to stay in their humble home, take care of a few family needs and give the rest away. In a matter of four short months, they gave away millions of dollars to the hospital where Violet was treated for cancer, local churches, Salvation Army, and other social service agencies.
“What you’ve never had, you never miss,” Violet said.
Allen, a retired steelworker, explained that he was more concerned with his wife’s health than with the cash. “That money that we had was nothing,” he said. “We have each other.”
The Larges didn’t want anything to come between the two of them. Three decades of love for one another trumped the allure of material goods.
In the tenth chapter of Mark, the rich young ruler asked Jesus about the emptiness he was experiencing. He appeared to have it all together, but came to the Master in search of peace and contentment that his possessions could not provide. Jesus listened and said, “The next step for you is to sell all that you have and follow Me with all your heart.”
Some struggle with this passage, believing that Jesus wants us to live in poverty. I believe it looks more like what we see in the life of Allen and Violet Large. Jesus doesn’t want anything, specifically material prosperity, to come between Himself and those He loves. If money is more important to you than your relationship with Him, then He would tell you the same thing He told the rich young ruler.
How can we tell if wealth and possessions are trumping our relationship with Jesus? I would suggest evaluating our bank accounts and our calendars. If we find that His Kingdom is simply getting the “leftovers” from our checkbooks and daily agendas, we may need to find a way to pursue the kind of intimacy that would compel us to walk away from a pile of lotto cash and into the arms of One who loves us more than we will ever know.
The First Academy has our own story of uncommon generosity. Because of many families here at TFA, we celebrated the groundbreaking recently on the new Field House. This facility will serve as a testimony of God’s goodness and the faithfulness of those who love Him more than anything this world can offer.
Steve Whitaker, Ph.D.
Head of School