by Sam Kameleson
Once upon a time, there lived a peanut vendor in South India. Every day he walked up and down the beach calling out, “Peanuts! Peanuts for sale! Peanuts!” The man was miserably poor. He barely earned half a living, hardly enough to feed his family. But at night he bragged to his wife and children, “I am the president and the vice president and the secretary and the treasurer of my own company!”
Eventually, the grinding poverty wore his nerves paper thin. One day he snapped. He sold all his peanuts and most of his meager belongings. He decided to go on a big fling.
“For one day, I am going to live like a rich man!” he vowed.
So he stopped by the barbershop for a clean shave and a hairstyle trim. He visited a fine clothing store and purchased an expensive suit, white shirt and tie, and all the accessories needed to look rich. Then he checked himself into the finest luxury hotel for the night. He had just enough money left to pay for the gourmet breakfast buffet the next morning.
He enjoyed the night’s accommodations in his luxury suite. When morning came he located the private, beachfront patio for the breakfast buffet. Although it was crowded with tourists, he found a table by himself. He had just filled his plate when in walked an elegantly dressed man. By this time no more tables were available, so the man approached and asked, “May I join you?”
The peanut vendor replied, “Why, yes! Please sit down.” He thought,
This is my lucky day! Not only am I living like a rich man, but I am going to eat with a rich man, too.
As the two began to talk, the stranger asked, “Sir, what do you do?” “I am the president and the vice president and the secretary and the treasurer of my own company,” he replied. “And what do you do?” The richly dressed man looked a bit sheepish. “I’m sorry. I should have introduced myself. I just supposed that with the coverage in the newspapers you might have recognized me. My name is John D. Rockefeller.” Although he had not recognized the face, the peanut vendor did know the name. He thought, This is wonderful! I am eating with one of the richest men in the whole world.
After talking for a while, Mr. Rockefeller said, “I like your style. We are starting a new company here in South India. Why don’t you come to work for me? I will make you vice president of sales in my new firm.”
The peanut vendor replied, “Why, thank you. What a generous offer! I would like a few minutes to think it over.”
“Of course,” said Mr. Rockefeller, “but I would like some indication of your interest before we part company.”
The two leisurely enjoyed the rest of their meals. When they were finished, the peanut vendor stood up. He wanted to announce his decision with style. He took a step away from the table and then turned and spoke in a voice loud enough so many could overhear.
“Thank you, Mr. Rockefeller, for offering me the position of vice president in your new company. But I must decline. I prefer to be the president and the vice president and the secretary and the treasurer of my own company.” He turned on his heel and walked out.
Years later, an old peanut vendor walked up and down the same resort beaches croaking in a broken voice, “Peanuts! Peanuts for sale! Peanuts!” But at night he boasted to his grandchildren that long ago one of the richest men in the world had offered to make him vice president of a huge firm.
“I turned it down,” he bragged, “so I could be the president and the vice president and the secretary and the treasurer of my own company.”
The peanut vendor had a chance for financial security but was too proud and self‐sufficient to accept it. Yet don’t we, as Christians, often make the same mistake? Our “rich” friend—our heavenly Father—owns the possessions and resources of the entire world. He has offered us love, meaning, purpose, and, ultimately, eternal life. These are His gifts to us (“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Jesus Christ”—Philippians 4:19). All we must do is repent of our sins and accept His lordship in our lives. But many husbands and wives are too proud—too self‐sufficient—to surrender their lives and belongings to Him. The unfortunate result is that they continue in misery and poverty.
Do you struggle with wanting “more”—be it money, possessions, status, or something else? We’ll spend the next few days discussing the impact of material desires and money management on marriage. As we do, keep in mind that everything we own and everything we are really belongs to the Lord of all.
- James C Dobson