Everyday, billions of dollars are gained or lost in the stock exchanges of the world. A rumor can send the stocks of Apple into a tailspin dive, making its stockholders poorer in billions of paper losses. And yet, nothing significant may have changed in Apple itself. Oracle shares lost ground yesterday because it did not make enough money to satisfy investors. The corporation did not lose money. In fact, it made billions in profits but it was just not enough to satisfy the avarice of people. During the 2008 financial meltdown, bankers and financiers created billions of dollars worth of investment instruments out of nothing. And when their bubble burst, millions were left destitute, having lost their homes and their retirement funds.
Wealth and money are an illusion. A thing has value only when people say so. Seashells were a valued currency in some societies in the past. Wages used to be paid in salt; thus, the term ‘salary’. There was a time in the Philippines when big fishing cannery ships used to dump and throw away the heads and tails of their catch because these could not be processed by the canning machinery of the ship. Till some resourceful persons thought of cleaning and grilling these and they became a prized and valued delicacy.
Wealth is what the human mind sees and defines to be of value. And value is what the human heart desires. Many sees money as an easy way of assigning values to things. But sooner than later, we realize that there are many things of value that cannot be denominated in terms of money. How much, for example, for a mother’s love? It is precious and beyond being valued in terms of money. I would trade everything I have for the love of my mother. How much for a granddaughter’s affection? Last night, Anabelle and I had a movie date with Jane, complete with drinks and popcorn. It cost me a few dollars but those moments we were out enjoying the movie with Jane were priceless in terms of money.
My treasures are where my heart is. And my heart is not in the money that I have but in the people around me. It is in their love and affection. It is in their caring and sharing that I feel like a rich man.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.
But store up treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”