"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."1
Today's Daily Encounter is told by Henry Gariepy.
A rich man named Carl loved to ride his horse through his vast estate to congratulate himself on his wealth. One day on such a ride, he came on Hans, an old tenant farmer who had sat down to eat his lunch in the shade of a great oak tree. Hans' head was bowed in prayer. When Hans looked up, he said, "Oh, excuse me, Sir. I didn't see you. I was giving thanks for my food."
"Hmph!" snorted the rich man, Carl. He noticed the coarse dark bread and cheese which made up the old man's lunch. "If that were all I had to eat, I don't think I would feel like giving thanks."
"Oh," replied Hans, "it is quite sufficient. But it is remarkable that you should come by today, Sir. I feel I should tell you, I had a strange dream just before awakening this morning."
"And what did you dream?" Carl asked with an amused smile. The old man answered, "There was beauty and peace all around, and yet I could hear a voice saying, 'The richest man in the valley will die tonight.'"
"Dreams!" cried Carl. "Nonsense!" He turned and galloped away. Hans prayed as he watched horse and rider disappear.
Die tonight, mused Carl. It's ridiculous, of course! No use my going into a panic. The best thing to do about the old man's dream is to forget it. But he couldn't forget it. He had felt fine, at least until Hans described his stupid dream. Now he didn't feel too well. That evening he called his doctor, who was also a personal friend. "Could you come over?" he asked. "I need to talk to you." When the doctor arrived, Carl told him the old man's dreamóhow the richest man in the valley would die that night.
"Sounds like poppycock to me," the doctor said, "but for your peace of mind, let's examine you."
A little later, his examination complete, the doctor was full of assurances. "Carl, you're as strong and healthy as that horse of yours. There's no way you're going to die tonight." Carl thanked his friend and told him how foolish he felt for being upset by an old man's dream.
It was about 9 A.M. when a messenger arrived at Carl's door. "It's old Hans," the messenger said. "He died last night in his sleep."2
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to live with eternal values in mind and become rich in the eyes of heaven regardless of whether I am rich or poor in the eyes of man. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
Note: To be sure you are ready for the day when you will meet your Maker, be sure to read the article, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christianówithout having to be religious" online at: http://tinyurl.com/real-christian.
1. Jesus in Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV).
2. This story is told by Henry Gariepy in Portraits of Perseverance, (Wheaton, Illinois: Victor Books, 1989).