What Does It Mean to be Truly Rich?

The Tao De Ching is a classic 6th Century Chinese book of wisdom and one of the most translated texts in literature. It a brief and brilliant series of chapters of how to live from the mind of the Chinese sage Laozi. Stephen Mitchell has written a beautiful translation of this little book, which I treasure and have read many times and which reinforces many of the biblical principles I hold dearly. The “Tao” in the Taoist religion is loosely translated as the “way.” One of these days I will bring you a sermon entitled “The Tao of Pastor Ken”, which will include some of the life lessons I have gleaned through the years.

Willie Nelson, picked up the Tao theme in his little book, “The Tao of Willie: A Guide to Happiness in Your Heart.” He begins one chapter with one of my favorite riddles: “What is gooder than God and more evil than the devil, that the rich need and the poor have, and if you eat it you will die? The answer, of course, is “nothing!” We live in a culture that always wants to “add value” to make life (and products) worthwhile. We are constantly told that if we just have a little more, get a little more, or add a little more life will be better and we will be happier and more satisfied. Just think, for one $1 we can supersize a fast food meal and add so much more satisfaction (and calories). Someone once asked J.D. Rockefeller how much money it would take to make him happy. His response was, “Just a little bit more.

“From my perspective, most of us already have everything for our lives to be complete and for us to be happy. What do we really need? For most of us the answer is “nothing.” The apostle Paul said that “God has already blessed us with every spiritual blessing.” (Ephesians 1:3) We have enough and we ARE enough. We have already been blessed and forgiven and gifted to live full and flourishing lives. Unfortunately, in a society where everything is monetized and marketed, even the life of the soul, we are often left feeling that our lives are not quite good enough, or that we are not quite good enough. One of the life lessons of the Tao De Ching is that we should accept life as it is, because life as it is, is enough! “To know you have enough”, says the Tao, “is to be truly rich” God help me when I forget how blessed I am. I have so much security and comfort in my life. I have so many people who love and support me. Things go so well for me most of the time. God help me to want the life I have, in-stead of having the life I think I sometimes want which will make me happier.