"I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings."
"I wish I had a million dollars!" Shouts an exuberant George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life.
His hand slams down on the giant lighter in Mr. Gower's drugstore. Up pops the flame!
"Hot dog!" He exclaims.
Every time I watch this scene, I find myself longing for George's wish to come true. I know it doesn't. But, I feel the same way when I watch Romeo and Juliet. I think, surely, they'll find each other before it's too late . . . surely, this time . . .
Surely, this time, George Bailey doesn't have to miss the world travels about which he has fantasized. Doesn't have to give his money to brother, Harry, so he can attend college. Doesn't have to run the Bailey Building and Loan when he dreams of being an architect. Doesn't have to battle Mr. Potter.
If anyone deserves a break, it's George!
But, he doesn't get one. At least, financially.
And, yet, the struggles and strife he faces throughout the story never diminish the integrity of his character. He may get frustrated or discouraged, but he always acts selflessly, putting others' needs before his own.
Willing, even, to take his own life if it means a more secure future for his beloved wife and children . . .
George Bailey embodies the qualities of servant-hood and stewardship. His life is a non-stop commitment to helping others and managing his and their assets with the utmost care and trustworthiness. He does much with the little he has.
And, he is rewarded with a great gift. One that money can't buy.
Do I still wish George had that cool million?
Because, in light of his character, I don't think he would have acted any differently.
He would have answered Christ's call.
What would you do with a million dollars?
Will you pray with me?
Even when we don't possess much in the way of material wealth, Lord, make us ever mindful of the needs of others. Give us a spirit of selflessness and generosity. Increase our faith so that we may do more good works in your name. Amen.
I am thankful for my wonderful life!
Psalms 66, 67 or 19, 46
1 Maccabees 2:29-41, 49-50