Last night I finished reading Rich In Heaven by Chris Mackey.
This morning I got an example of what Mackey wrote about told to me by a stranger. There’s something about snowbirds (a northerner who moves to a warmer southern state in the winter) and conversation. They don’t shy from it.
I’m on vacation in Orange Beach, Alabama. If I turn my head just so, I see the Gulf of Mexico right now. This morning I decided to walk the beach first thing. After being stopped by one snowbird to view passing porpoises about 100 yards out in the water, I was stopped by another couple to chat. I really don’t know what started the conversation. But 10 minutes later, the husband had told me all I needed to know about his family.
I didn’t ask his name. Since he’s from Gardendale (which probably doesn’t really classify him as a snowbird…it’s in the same state), I’ll call him Dale.
Dale is retiring April 1st from Alabama Power where he’s worked for 46 years. One of his younger brothers retired today. His wife said Dale’s a little miffed by that. His other younger brother took over the family farm. His wife said he’ll figure out that wasn’t a good move.
Dale doesn’t care for the beach; he’d rather be on a bushwhacker. That reminds him of growing up on the farm with his parents. They’re both gone, but he’s very proud of who they were. When his dad passed, people told Dale stories of how he’d done something personally impactful for them that they’d never forget. That’s who he was.
From Dale’s own experience, he remembers when his Dad would announce in church that the next weekend his corn crop would be ready for people to come get whatever they wanted. They stood in lines for that free corn. And the same with the family chickens. They always had 2,000-3,000 chickens (Dale said that wasn’t a lot. I’ve never had one, so that sounded ginormous to me.). Dale’s dad would announce a Sunday prior that fryers would be available the next weekend. That meant Dale and his brothers would have to skin them to be ready to give away.
Dale said he never got a satisfactory answer from his dad why he didn’t ask folks to pay for that corn or those fryers. His dad only said, “One day you’ll understand.” When Dale said they were never rich or anything, I replied, “Your dad was a different kind of rich.” He replied, “And I understand now.”
Chatting with my vacationing neighbors reminded me of a few things Mackey wrote:
We ought to think about “us and ours” instead of “me and mines.”
The way to more blessing is giving what you have away.
God is displeased, not by what we choose to give Him, but by what we refuse to give Him.
The two types of people in this world are not the haves and the have nots but the “use wells” and the “do nothings.”
The rich in heaven are those who are not okay with God working out His plan apart from them.
Nothing promotes inaction more than comfort.
It is the place where you refuse to grant God access that marks the extent of heaven’s reign in your life.
I met some rich folks this morning. I’m richer.