A Rich, Rich Man

Maybe it’s NOT about the Benjamins!

It was one of those perfect, early autumn evenings. The air was still hot and clammy, but the rays of the sun were starting to slant toward the horizon. I was excited because tonight was the first game of the season with my NEW softball team!

[Just so we understand ourselves clearly from the outset, I LOVE playing slow-pitch softball. I am, however, utterly unencumbered by anything resembling actual softball-playing talent.]

This was at least thirty-five years ago, when I was still working at the bank. It was a men’s team made up mostly of some guys I worked with and a few of their friends. After doing some hamstring, glute, and quad stretches, I ambled over to introduce myself to some of my new teammates. 

My eyes drifted toward a man with neatly combed graying hair who stood there tying his cleats at the end of our bench. I didn’t recognize him, so I walked over, stuck out my hand and said, “Hi there! I don’t think we’ve met!”

To which he replied, “Hi there! I’m Rich!”

And since, back then, I was a scintillating and clever young man, regularly given to cracking totally obvious, cornpone jokes, I grabbed his hand, shook it, and replied, “Well, I’m not yet, but I hope to be!” 

[Rich, that is. Get it?]

At the time I unleashed my droll little riposte, my words were absolutely accurate. I was at the very beginning of a promising career as a Series 7 registered investment representative. I worked at a respected local bank and had visions of golden sugarplums and a big, fat 401(k) fund dancing in my head. 

And here, today, half a lifetime later, I am floored to realize how lavishly that dream of fabulous wealth has been realized…

… of course, in God’s own time. In God’s own way.

You see, definition #2 of the word “rich” is, “Abundant. Plentiful. As in, “… the nation’s rich and diverse wildlife,” while definition #5 says, “interesting because of being full of diversity or complexity.” As in, “What a full, rich life you lead!”

I have not (not yet, at least!) become rich in the sense of definition #1: “Having a great deal of money or assets.” But looking back on my life now, I have become fabulously rich by definition #2 and definition #5 standards!

  • I am rich in FAMILY. The one I was born into and the one I helped build along the way. They are all such awesome, goofy, great, smart, idiotic, special, warped, and splendid humans. I don’t know what I would do without any one of them.
  • I am rich in EXPERIENCE. Some of which I sought out on purpose… some of which sneaked up and ambushed me while I was looking the other way.
  • I am rich in RELATIONSHIPS. Living in one place for 45 years will do that for you. But now, since Joan and I decided to uproot ourselves and move to a brand-new town, we have a chance to build a whole bunch MORE!
  • Thanks to my parents, many, many mentors, the mysterious working of the Holy Spirit, and God’s inspired Word, I also wake up today to find I am rich in FAITH.
  • And finally, today’s list would not be complete without mentioning that I am also rich in LOVE. Both the love that has been astonishingly lavished upon me, but the love I feel toward the people and the world around me.

WOW! When you put it that way, I am a much richer guy than I could ever have imagined when I made my famous wisecrack to Rich on that softball field so very long ago.

That could very well be what Jesus was talking about when he sat his disciples down and told them, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, NRSVU). 

I have lost track of Rich over the years, but wherever he is, I pray he has discovered that he is not only Rich, but also (definition #2) rich, and (definition #5) rich.

And wherever you are today, whatever your name is, I pray the richness of God’s good grace for you as well today. 

Abundant blessings;

9 Responses to “A Rich, Rich Man”

  1. September 8, 2022 at 9:33 pm

    Russell, first,…it is SO GOOD to see you! I’m sorry I have been M.I.A. at times. Secondly, this post is beautiful! You are most definitely a rich man. I feel filthy rich too, Russell. I must mention that I grew up on a softball field and my Dad played fastpitch (he’s in the Missouri Hall of Fame!). I went on to play slow pitch for many years and the friends and memories of my “dirt days” are some of those “rich” memories. Russell,…where are you and Joan now? A move? How exciting! God bless you both!

    • September 9, 2022 at 10:11 pm

      Wow! You are definitely part of softball royalty! It is a great game with lots of cameraderie, win, lose or tie. We are now in Fort Collins, Colorado. I was reluctant to part company with the Kansas City area after 45 or so years, but there were a variety of factors that helped urge us in that direction. I am so glad to hear from you. I pray for God’s continued blessing as you travel on your health journey.

      • September 10, 2022 at 1:50 pm

        Oh, Russell! You are both in some of my favorite areas of the country. About 3 weeks ago, thanks to the Air Force, my youngest son, daughter-in-law, and grandgirl moved to Warrensburg (from WA state to Warrensburg ~what a change like yours!). They will be visiting me TODAY! Colorado will always be one of my favorite places on the planet. I just BREATHE better near the mountains. Yet,…I love having my family near me during these challenging times. I wish nothing but continued blessings for you both!

  2. September 13, 2022 at 6:27 pm

    Russ, I hear you. I am fabulously rich, as well. I think you’ll find that when you move from one place to another there’s actually opportunity to be even richer in friends.
    In Florida, where we have a time share in February – Sanibel, where I met you and Joan – I have a whole circle of wonderful friends who love me and pray for me year-round. The church on Sanibel is amazing, and with all their Bible studies I’ve noticed a pattern: I go to a study, sit with some women I don’t know, and share ideas with one of them afterwards. We decide to go to lunch, and two hours and a lot of conversation later, I have a new friend! 🙂

    • September 15, 2022 at 3:52 pm

      Annie; after meeting you, I would have a hard time imagining you NOT making new friends wherever you go. When we choose to live in GOD’s world, we quickly realize it is a world of overflowing abundance. It is only in the narrow confines of HUMAN’s world where we find scarcity.

  3. September 14, 2022 at 10:09 pm

    Rich indeed, my friend, rich indeed!

  4. 7 Jeanne (and Bill) Casey
    September 15, 2022 at 10:56 pm

    After reading your 9/8 posting I sat and thought for several minutes – thought long and hard. Yes, I am rich, rich, rich in so many ways. It’s good to think about those things from time to time. Almost 62 years of marriage to a wonderful man. That wonderful man now has Alzheimers and for the rest of our time together I will endeavor to take care of him as long as I can. I have a wonderful family which has now grown to 6 great-grandchildren which makes me feel oh, so rich. In recent years my faith has grown stronger and stronger. I believe this is so because of a very smart Pastor we met along the way. The one we still miss a lot, but we are so glad he is learning to love living in Colorado – – it is one of our favorite places also. God’s blessings on you Russell, and on Joan. I never miss one of your blogs.

    • September 16, 2022 at 9:24 pm

      Jeanne; Oh my goodness! You are so incredibly kind to say that. And yes, you are right… you are also incredibly rich. It really saddens me to hear about Bill’s cognitive decline. I know it is especially tough on a spouse to realize you are slowly becoming a total stranger to the person you love most in life. My heart goes out to both of you as you navigate this very difficult passage. Joan and I are praying for you and hoping that you continue to reflect on all the “riches” in your life today.

  5. October 3, 2022 at 5:39 pm

    Yep. I’m pretty rich too. 😀

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